Skip to main content

Full text of "CMH Pub 5-10-1 Triumph in the Philippines"

See other formats


Triumph 

in the 

Philippines 



UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 

The War in the Pacific 
TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 

by 

Robert Ross Smith 




CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY 
UNITED STA TES ARMY 
WASHINGTON, D.C., 1993 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 62-60000 



Firs l Printed 1963— CM H Pub 5-10-1 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington, D.C. 20402 



UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 

Stetson Conn, General Editor 



Fred Harvey Harrington 
University of Wisconsin 

William R. Emerson 
Yale University 

OronJ. Hale 
University of Virginia 

W. Stull Holt 
University of Washington 

Bell I. Wiley 
Emory University 



Advisory Committee 

(As of 15 March 1961) 

Maj. Gen. Louis W. Truman 
U.S. Continental Army Command 

Maj. Gen. Evan M. Houseman 
Industrial College of the Armed Forces 

Brig. Gen. Bruce Palmer, Jr. 
U.S. Army War College 

Brig. Gen. William A. Cunningham III 
U.S. Army Command and General Staff Colle 

Col. Vincent J. Esposito 
United States Military Academy 



C. Vann Woodward 
Johns Hopkins University' 



Office of the Chief of Military History 
Brig. Gen. James A. Norell, Chief of Military History 

Chief Historian Stetson Conn 

Chief, Histories Division Col. Leonard G. Robinson 

Chief, Publication Division Lt. Col. James R. Hillard 

Editor in Chief Joseph R. Friedman 



. . . to Those Who Served 



Foreword 



From the moment of his departure from the Philippines in 1942, General 
MacArthur was determined to return to the islands and restore the freedom 
of the Philippine people. Capture of the main island of Luzon in 1945 sub- 
stantially realized this goal. How his armies accomplished it forms the body 
of the story unfolded in this volume. 

In some respects the Luzon Campaign repeated the pattern of Japanese 
conquest three years earlier, although with action on a much larger scale and 
for a much longer period. Unlike the Japanese conquest, the operations of 
1945 involved a fierce month-long battle for Manila, the only such pro- 
tracted action by U.S. forces in a big city during World War II. It also 
involved a complicated and costly reduction of three mountain positions 
into which the Japanese withdrew, in one of which there was still a substantial 
core of resistance when Japan surrendered. 

Within the broad scope of this work, covering the intensive operations of 
two armies for seven months, the author has necessarily concentrated on 
what is most instructive and significant to the outcome. The clarity, thorough 
scholarship, and careful mapping of this volume should make it especially 
useful for the military student, and all who read it will benefit by the author's 
forthright presentation of this dramatic and climactic story of U.S. Army 
operations in the Pacific war. 



Washington, D.C. 
15 March 1961 



JAMES A. NORELL 
Brigadier General, USA 
Chief of Military History 



vii 



The Author 



Robert Ross Smith received a B.A. and M.A. in American History from 
Duke University. A graduate of the Infantry Officer Candidate School at 
Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1943, he served on the staff and faculty of the 
Special Services School at Washington and Lee University and then, for two 
years, was a member of the G-3 Historical Division at General Douglas 
MacArthur's General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area. He presently 
holds a reserve commission as a lieutenant colonel of Infantry. 

Mr, Smith has been with the Office of the Chief of Military History, 
either as an officer on active duty or as a civilian, since January 1947. His 
first book in the series THE UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 
WAR II, The Approach to the Philippines, was published in 1953. He is 
currently working on his third volume for the series, The Riviera to the 
Rhine. Mr. Smith's other works include an essay in Command Decisions 
(New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1959, and Washington: Office 
of the Chief of Military History, 1960) ; an article on tactical supply prob- 
lems in Military Review; the article on the Pacific phase of World War II 
in the Encyclopedia Britannica; and an account of the Battle of Ox Hill 
(1 September 1862) in Fairfax County and the War Between the States, a 
publication of the Fairfax County (Va.) Civil War Centennial Commission. 



viii 



Preface 



Triumph in the Philippines is the story of the largest joint campaign oi 
the Pacific phase of World War II. Devoted principally to the accomplish- 
ments of U.S. Army ground combat forces and to the operations of major 
organized Philippine guerrilla units that contributed notably to the success 
of the campaign, the volume describes the reconquest of the Philippine 
archipelago exclusive of Leyte and Samar. The narrative includes coverage 
of air, naval, and logistical activity necessary to broad understanding of the 
ground combat operations. The strategic planning and the strategic debates 
leading to the decision to seize Luzon and bypass Formosa are also treated 
so as to enable the reader to fit the Luzon and Southern Philippines Cam- 
paigns into their proper perspective of the war against Japan. 

For the forces of General Douglas MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Area 
the reconquest of Luzon and the Southern Philippines was the climax of the 
Pacific war, although no one anticipated this outcome when, on 9 January 
1945, Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger's Sixth Army poured ashore over the beaches 
of Lingayen Gulf. Viewed from the aspect of commitment of U.S. Army 
ground forces, the Luzon Campaign (which strategically and tactically in- 
cludes the seizure of Mindoro Island and the securing of the shipping lanes 
through the central Visayan Islands) was exceeded in size during World 
War II only by the drive across northern France. The Luzon Campaign 
differed from others of the Pacific war in that it alone provided opportunity 
for the employment of mass and maneuver on a scale even approaching that 
common to the European and Mediterranean theaters. The operations of 
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger's Eighth Army, both on Luzon and during 
the Southern Philippines Campaign, were more akin to previous actions 
throughout the Pacific, but the southern campaign, too, presented features 
peculiar to the reconquest of the Philippine archipelago. 

Triumph in the Philippines began as the joint effort of two authors, 
myself and a former colleague, Dr. M. Hamlin Cannon. Before completion 
of the manuscript's first draft, Dr. Cannon accepted another position and the 
task of completion and revision fell upon my shoulders. I had access to 
Dr. Cannon's draft chapters, which proved valuable guides to research and 
which helped me avoid many pitfalls, A detailed discussion of all source 
material is to be found at the end of the volume in The Sources: A Critical 
Note. For this preface it is sufficient to state that the only limitation on 
access to or use of records concerned questions that could be shown to have 



ix 



an obviously and directly adverse effect upon national security and national 
policy. 

In 1957 the Office of the Chief of Military History made it possible for 
me to revisit the battlefields of Luzon. This permitted me to make many 
important revisions based upon an invaluable firsthand examination of 
much of the terrain involved in the Luzon Campaign and enabled me to 
complete substantive work on the volume early in 1958. 

It is impossible to list all who made significant contributions to the 
preparation of Triumph in the Philippines, but it is incumbent upon me to 
single out those who provided help and guidance above and beyond the call 
of duty. Heading the list are the nearly eighty officers or former officers of 
the Army, Navy, and Air Force whose time and patience in reviewing all or 
parts of the manuscript produced valuable information and many provoca- 
tive ideas. It was especially gratifying to find busy men in important posts 
taking pains to submit comments — for example, the Honorable Hugh M. 
Milton II, former Under Secretary of the Army and during the Luzon Cam- 
paign the Chief of Staff, XIV Corps. Similarly, General George H. Decker, 
Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and formerly Chief of Staff, Sixth Army, on Luzon, 
provided a collection of papers that proved especially valuable in analyzing 
the problems of XI Corps during the return to Bataan. 

Within the Office of the Chief of Military History grateful acknowledg- 
ment goes to Dr. Stanley L. Falk, whose skill as research assistant, especially 
in the field of enemy materials, eased my burden and saved countless hours 
of digging. Thanks are also owing Dr. Louis Morton, formerly Chief of the 
Pacific Section and Deputy Chief of the World War II Branch, and Dr. Kent 
Roberts Greenfield, formerly Chief Historian, Department of the Army, 
both of whom gave valuable guidance and advice. I also acknowledge my 
debts to the General Reference Branch, Office of the Chief of Military 
History, and to the World War II Records Division, National Archives and 
Records Service, for their aid in locating and obtaining source material. 
Miss Mary Ann Bacon undertook the editing of the manuscript; Mrs. Marion 
P. Grimes was the copy editor. The task of preparing the maps that so admi- 
rably supplement the text was in the capable hands of Mr, Billy C. Mossman, 
who also prepared a research draft for part of Chapter XXVIII. Mrs. Norma 
Heacock Sherris made the excellent selection of photographs. Mr. Nicholas 
J. Anthony compiled the Index. 

Acknowledgment of assistance by no means implies that the individuals 
or organizations concerned either approve or disapprove the interpretations 
set forth in the volume, nor should the contents of the volume be construed 
as representing the official views of the Department of the Army. I alone am 
responsible for interpretations made and conclusions drawn and for any 
errors of omission or commission. 

Washingon, D.C. ROBERT ROSS SMITH 

15 March 1961 



x 



Contents 



PART ONE 



Plans and Preparations 

Chapter Page 

I. THE DEBATE OVER LUZON 3 

The Strategic Background 3 

Luzon Versus Formosa 8 

II. THE PLAN FOR INVASION 18 

The Concept 18 

Changing the Target Dates 22 

Tactical Plans 26 

The Logistical Plan 38 

III. PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE 

APPROACH 43 

Airfields on Mindoro 43 

Diversionary Activities 53 

The Approach to Luzon 54 



PART TWO 
Invasion 

IV. ESTABLISHING THE BEACHHEAD 73 

The Assault: S-dayS Plus 2 73 

The Beachhead Through S Plus 2 85 

V. THE ENEMY 88 

Japanese Strategy in the Philippines 88 

The Japanese on Luzon 90 

Dispositions in Northern Luzon 97 



XI 



Chapter Page 

VI. EXPANDING THE HOLD 104 

/ Corps Meets the Enemy 104 

XIV Corps Probes South 115 

VII. THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 118 

Unloading the Assault Convoys 118 

Inland Supply and Construction 128 

PART THREE 
The Central Plains 

VIIL REDEPLOYMENT AND TACTICAL PLANS 139 

New American Plans 139 

Japanese Redispositions 143 

IX. SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 147 

The Fight for the Routes 3-11 Junction 147 

Binalonan and San Manuel: The I Corps Center 155 

Advancing the I Corps Right 160 

The Achievements Analyzed . . . . . 165 

X. THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 167 

Into Contact With the Kembu Group 167 

The First Attacks 171 

A Planning Interlude 179 

Closing With the Kembu Group's MLR 183 

The Attack Through the End of January 186 

XI. PROTECTING XIV CORPS' REAR AND FLANKS 187 

The Problem and the Plan 187 

The Capture of San Jose 190 

San Jose to the East Coast 201 

The Destruction of the Kembu Group 202 

Epilogue 206 

PART FOUR 
Securing the Manila Bay Area 

XII. MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 211 

XIV Corps' Drive South 211 

The Approach From the South 221 

Support Operations During the Approach March 232 



xii 



Chapter Page 

XIII. MANILA: THE DEFENDERS AND THE DEFENSES . . .237 

The City 237 

The Japanese Defenses 240 

XIV. ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 249 

The Concept of the Attack 249 

Operations North of the Pasig 251 

Across the River and Into the Buildings 258 

Encircling the City 265 

XV. THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 271 

Iwabuchi Entrapped 271 

The Battles at the Strongpoints 275 

XVI. MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 291 

Intramuros 291 

The Government Buildings 301 

Conclusions 306 

XVII. BACK TO BATAAN . 309 

The Plans for Opening Manila Bay . 309 

Sealing Off Bataan: A Study in Command 313 

Clearing Bataan Peninsula 331 

XVIII. CORREGIDOR 335 

The Plan of Assault 335 

Securing "The Rock" 340 

XIX. MANILA BAY^ MINOR OPERATIONS 351 

The South Shore 351 

The Small Islands 352 



PART FIVE 
The Shimbu Group and the Visayan Passages 

XX. AMERICAN PLANS FOR POST-MANILA 

OPERATIONS 361 

xiii 



Chapter Page 

XXI. THE REDUCTION OF THE SHIMBU GROUP- 
PHASE I: TURNING THE SHIMBU LEFT 367 

Plans 367 

The XIV Corps Offensive 371 

The Collapse of the Shimbu Left 384 

Conclusions 388 

XXII. THE REDUCTION OF THE SHIMBU GROUP- 
PHASE II: THE SEIZURE OF WAWA AND 

IPO DAMS 391 

Protecting the Right Rear 391 

Breakthrough in the Center 392 

The Seizure of Ipo Dam 403 

The Destruction of the Kogure Detachment 415 

The End of the Shimbu Group 418 

XXIII. SECURING THE VISAYAN PASSAGES 423 

Southern Luzon 423 

Clearing the Smaller Islands 435 

The Bicol Peninsula Operation 439 

PART SIX 
The Conquest of Northern Luzon 

XXIV. NORTHERN LUZON: THE SITUATION AND 

THE PLANS 449 

The Terrain and the Defenses in Northern Luzon 449 

The Sixth Army's Plan 457 

XXV. THE COLLAPSE OF THE BAGUIO FRONT 468 

The 33d Division's Holding Mission 468 

The Drive to Baguio 479 

The Baguio Front to the End of May 488 

XXVI. THE BAMBANG FRONT— I: THE VILLA VERDE 

TRAIL 491 

The Situation and the Plans 491 

Prologue to Stalemate 492 

The Battle for Salacsac Pass No. 2 498 

Salacsac Pass No. 1 to Imugan 505 

xiv 



Chapter JVg« 

XXVII. THE BAMBANG FRONT— II: THE 25TH DIVISION 

ON ROUTE 5 512 

The 25th Division's Drive Begins 512 

Objective: Balete Pass 516 

The Envelopment of Balete Pass 530 

Sante Fe and the Villa Verde Trail 535 

Conclusions 

537 

XXVIII. ACTION AT THE NORTHERN APEX 541 

Northwestern Luzon 541 

Laoag, Vigan, and the Araki Force 546 

The Fight for Bessang Pass 547 

Results of USAFIP (NL) Operations 555 

XXIX. PURSUIT IN NORTHERN LUZON 558 

The Shobu Group Withdrawal Plans 558 

Sixth Army-I Corps Pursuit Plans 561 

Compressing the Shobu Group 562 

The End in Northern Luzon 572 

PART SEVEN 
The Southern Philippines 

XXX. THE CAMPAIGN BEGINS 583 

The Plans and the Forces 583 

Airfields on Palawan 589 

Zamboanga 591 

The Sulu Archipelago 597 

Zamboanga-Sulu Airfield Development 599 

XXXI. THE CENTRAL VISAYAN ISLANDS 601 

Panay and Guimaras . 601 

Northern Negros . . 617 

Cebu , .604 

Bohol and Southern Negros 608 

Conclusions 618 

XXXII. THE CONQUEST OF EASTERN MINDANAO 620 

Plans, Preparations, and Penetration 620 

The Destruction of the 100th Division 627 

The Collapse of 30th Division Resistance 636 

Mop-up and Pursuit in Eastern Mindanao 642 

The End of the War in Eastern Mindanao 647 



xv 



PART EIGHT 
Conclusion 

CONCLUSION 651 

Appendixes 

Page 

A. ORGANIZATION FOR THE INVASION OF LUZON . . . . 659 

1. Generalized Organization of the Southwest Pacific Area, 

December 1944 660 

2. Organization of Ground Combat Forces in the Southwest Pacific 

Area, 9 January 1945 661 

3. Organization of the Sixth Army for the Invasion of Luzon . . .662 

4. Organization of the Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific 

Area, for the Lingayen Gulf Operation 663 

5. Organization of the Amphibious Forces for the Lingayen Gulf 

Operation 664 

6. Operational Organization of Allied Air Commands in the 

Pacific, 9 January 1945 facing 664 

B. COMPOSITION OF THE LANDING WAVES, LINGAYEN 

ASSAULT, 9 JANUARY 1945 666 

C. JAPANESE COMMAND STRUCTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES . . 669 

1, Simplified Organization, November 1944 671 

2. Organization as of 9 January 1945 672 

D. ORGANIZATION OF JAPANESE FORCES AT MANILA , , .673 

E. SH1MBU GROUP ORDER OF BATTLE 674 

F. STRENGTH AND DEPLOYMENT OF JAPANESE IN THE 

SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES 682 

G. JAPANESE ORDER OF BATTLE IN EASTERN MINDANAO 684 

1. 100th Division, 17 April 1945 684 

2. 100th Division Reorganization of Mid-May 687 

3. 30th Division, 17 April 1945 688 

4. Order of Battle of Japanese Forces Along the Northwestern 

Section of the Kibawe-Talomo Trail 691 



XVI 



Page 

H, THE COST OF THE CAMPAIGNS 692 

1. Battle Casualties of the U.S. Army Ground Combat Forces, 

Luzon and the Southern Philippines, 1945 692 

2. Japanese Casualties, Luzon and the Southern Philippines, 1945 . , 694 

THE SOURCES: A CRITICAL NOTE 695 

GLOSSARY 714 

BASIC MILITARY MAP SYMBOLS 720 

INDEX 725 



Tables 

No, 

1. Results of Japanese Kamikaze Operations, 13 December 1944- 

13 January 1945 66 

2. Composition of 6th Division Shore Party 123 

3. Artillery in Support of Assault on Intramuros 296 

4. Artillery Expended in Support of the Assault on Intramuros 297 

5. Casualties in Battle for Manila 307 

6. Japanese Equipment Captured in Manila Area 308 

7. Casualties in Corregidor Operations to March 1945 350 

8. U.S. Infantry Casualties in Attack Toward Santa Fe, 21 February- 

31 May 1945 539 

9. U.S. Army Casualties, Eastern Mindanao, Through 15 August 

1945 648 



Maps 

1. Situation in the Pacific, 15 December 1944 5 

2. Invasion of Mindoro, 15 December 1944-31 January 1945 44 

3. The Enemy on Luzon, 11 January 1945 95 

4. Sixth Army Advance, 12-17 January 1945 116 

5. The Capture of San Jose, 1-8 February 1945 191 



xvi l 



No. p a ge 

6. The Capture of Manila: The Drive Toward Intramuros, 13-22 

February 1945 276 

7. The Capture of Manila: Eliminating the Last Resistance, 23 Feb- 

ruary-3 March 1945 298 

8. ZigZag Pass, 1 February 1945 317 

9. ZigZag Pass, 2 February 1945 318 

10. ZigZag Pass, 3 February 1945 320 

11. ZigZag Pass, 4 February 1945 321 

12. ZigZag Pass, 5 February 1945 323 

13. ZigZag Pass, 6 February 1945 328 

14. Clearing ZigZag Pass: 38th Division, 7-14 February 1945 331 

15. Clearing Bataan, 12-21 February 1945 333 

16. The Seizure of Wawa Dam, 27 March-28 May 1945 393 

17. The Seizure of Ipo Dam, 6-17 May 1945 409 

18. To Infanta and Santa Inez, 31 March-18 June 1945 417 

19. Troop Dispositions, Northern Luzon, 21 February 1945 451 

20. The Capture of Baguio, I Corps, 21 February-26 April 1945 473 

21. The Irisan Gorge Area 483 

22. To Balete Pass and Santa Fe, 25th Division, 12 March-31 May 1945 . . 521 
23- The Fight for Bessang Pass, U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines, 

North Luzon, 29 March-22 May 1945 550 

24. Through Bessang Pass to Cervantes, U.S. Army Forces in the 

Philippines, North Luzon, 1-15 June 1945 555 

25. Pursuit in Northern Luzon, I Corps, 31 May-30 June 1945 565 

26. Final Operations in Northern Luzon, XIV Corps, 1 July-15 August 

1945 575 

27. Clearing Puerto Princesa Harbor, Palawan Island, 28 February- 

1 March 1945 590 

28. The Seizure of Zamboanga, 41st Infantry Division, 10-31 March 

1945 ' 594 

29. The Sulu Archipelago 598 

30. Clearing the Central Visayan Islands, 40th and Americal Divisions, 

18 March-28 April 1945 603 

31. Clearing the Cebu City Area, Americal Division, 26 March-18 April 

1945 611 

32. Clearing Eastern Mindanao, X Corps, 17 April-30 June 1945 624 

33. Clearing the Davao Area, 24th Infantry Division, 30 April-26 June 

1945 631 



Maps I-XII Are in Accompanying Map Envelope 
I. The Lingayen Assault, 9-1 1 January 1945 

II. Seizing the Routes 3-11 Junction, 43d Infantry Division, 12—31 
January 1945 



xviii 



III. Sixth Army's Advance, 18-31 January 1945 

IV. The Capture of Clark Field, XIV Corps, 24 January-20 February 1945 
V. The Approach to Manila, 1-4 February 1945 

VI. The Capture of Manila: the Encirclement, 3-12 February 1945 
VII. Corregidor Island 

VIII. Turning the SHIMBU Left, 20 February-26 March 1945 
IX. Clearing Southern Luzon, XIV Corps, 4 March-11 April 1945 
X. Securing the Visayan Passages, 19 February-2 May 1945 
XI. Advance Toward Santa Fe, I Corps, 21 February-10 March 1945 
XII. Clearing the Salacsac Passes, 32d Infantry Division, 7 March-28 May 1945 

Illustrations 

Page 

Relief Map of the Philippine Islands 20 

Landing Unopposed on White Beach, Mindoro 50 

Southern Landing Beach at Lingayen 74 

Looking Inland, Eastern Shore of Lingayen Gulf 75 

Dusk, 9 January 82 

Damortis 106 

Troops on Hill Overlooking Damortis-Rosario Road 110 

Manaoag and Hill 200 Complex 113 

LST's With Causeways 120 

Congestion at Blue Beach 125 

First Standard Locomotive in Operation 131 

Medium Tanks Support 158th RCT 153 

Watching and Waiting 163 

Bamban 170 

Kembu Defense Area 172 

Cave-Pocked Hill 178 

Wrecked Japanese Tank-Artillery Column 189 

Mufioz 194 

The Bridges at Calumpit 213 

Plaridel Bridges 214 

Tuliahan Bridge 219 

Airdrop on Tagaytay Ridge 228 

Paraiiaque 231 

Central Manila 238 

Japanese Barricade 247 

Liberated Internees at Santo Tomas 251 

Northern Manila 253 

Provisor Island 262 

Rizal Baseball Stadium 278 

xix 



Page 

Manila Hotel in Ruins 281 

New Police Station 284 

Rizal Hall 289 

Objective-The Walled City 299 

Intramuros After the Battle 801 

Legislative Building— Before 304 

Legislative Building- — After 305 

XI Corps Landing Area, Western Luzon 314 

Visibility Zero, ZigZag Pass 316 

Airdrop, Topside 342 

Amphibious Assault, Bottomside 343 

Raising the Flag, Corregidor . 349 

Caballo Island 354 

Fort Drum 355 

Boarding Fort Drum From LSM 356 

Carabao Under Fire 357 

Northern Section of Marikina Valley 370 

Mts. Pacawagan and Mataba 374 

Benchmark 7 383 

Terrain Defended by Kobayashi Force . 395 

6th Division Approach to Wawa Dam 401 

Approaches to Ipo Dam 406 

Ipo Dam 412 

7 th Cavalry at Kapatalan Sawmill 419 

Lipa After Bombardment 431 

Landing at Port Legaspi 442 

Bontoc 452 

Baguio 455 

Villa Verde Trail Near San Nicolas 462 

Bagabag 464 

Route 11 Winding South From Baguio 469 

Galiano Valley Approach to Baguio 470 

Route 9 Near Burgos 471 

Irisan Gorge 482 

Salacsac Pass No. 2 496 

Hill 504 500 

Villa Verde Approach to Imugan 510 

Route 5 Through Balete Pass 519 

Neutralizing the Enemy, Norton's Knob 523 

Route 5 South of Santa Fe 537 

Upper and Lov/er Cadsu Ridges 551 

105-mm. Howitzer Firing at Extreme Elevation . 552 

Bessang Pass 554 

Attacking Through Oriung Pass 564 

xx 



Page 

Kiangan Valley 576 

Terrain in the Last-Stand Area, Asin Valley 578 

Yamashita Comes Out of the Valley 579 

Dipolog Airstrip 592 

Amphibious Landing Area, Zamboanga Peninsula 595 

Panay Coastal Plain 604 

90-mm. Antiaircraft Gun Firing Ground Support 606 

Landing at Cebu 612 

Cebu City 613 

LCM Carrying Troops, Mindanao River 625 

Route 1 628 

Clearing Enemy From Sayre Highway 639 

Transporting Howitzer by Cable 640 

Philippine Guerrilla Scout 657 

All pictures in this volume are from Department of Defense files. 



xxi 



The U.S. Army Center of Military History 



The Center of Military History prepares and publishes histories as re- 
quired by the U.S. Army. It coordinates Army historical matters, including 
historical properties, and supervises the Army museum system. It also 
maintains liaison with public and private agencies arid individuals to stimu- 
late interest and study in the field of military history. The Center is located 
at 1099 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005-3402. 



xxii 



PART ONE 
PLANS AND PREPARATIONS 



CHAPTER I 



The Debate Over Luzon 



The Strategic Background 

Pacific Strategy 

In January 1945, after more than three 
years of war, United States forces re- 
turned to the island of Luzon in the 
Philippines, where in 1942 American 
troops had suffered a historic defeat. The 
loss of the Philippines in May of that 
year, following the disaster that befell 
the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, 
had rendered obsolete and inoperable 
American prewar plans for action in the 
Pacific in the event of war with Japan. 1 
By the late spring of 1943 the U.S. Joint 
Chiefs of Staff (who, by agreement of the 
U.S.-British Combined Chiefs of Staff, 
were responsible for the conduct of the 
war in the Pacific) had developed a new 
strategic plan for the defeat of Japan. 
The plan was neither sacrosanct nor im- 
mutable—it was not intended to be. 
Nevertheless, its underlying concepts 
governed the planning and execution of 
operations in the Pacific during a year 



1 See Louis Morton, The Fall of the Philippines 
(Washington, 1953), a volume in the series UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, for the 
opening phases of Japan's attack in the Pacific and 
a description of prewar plans with especial reference 
to the Philippines. Morton's general volume in the 
same series on the Vacific theaters, Strategy and 
Command: The First Two Years (Washington, 
10,61?), covers the prewar plans in more detail. 



and a half of debate over the relative 
priority of Luzon and Formosa as pri- 
mary objectives of an Allied drive into 
the western Pacific. 2 

The plan was premised upon the con- 
cept that the Allies might very well find 
it necessary to invade Japan in order to 
end the war in the Pacific. The Joint 
Chiefs of Staff foresaw that intensive 
aerial bombardment of the Japanese 
home islands would be prerequisite to 
invasion, and that such bombardment 
would have to be co-ordinated with com- 
bined air, surface, and submarine opera- 
tions aimed at cutting Japan's overwater 
lines of communication to the rich ter- 
ritories she had seized in the Netherlands 
East Indies and southeastern Asia. The 
Joint Chiefs believed that the Allies 
could best undertake the necessary bom- 
bardment of Japan from airfields in east- 
ern China, and they decided that to 
secure and develop adequate air bases in 
China, Allied forces would have to seize 
at least one major port on the south 
China coast. The Allies would require 
such a port to replace the poor overland 
and air routes from India and Burma as 



J See JCS 287/1, 8 May 43, and JPS 67/4, so Apr 
43, both entitled Strategic Plan for the Defeat of 
Japan, and associated papers in OPD ABC 381 
Japan (8-27-42) Sees. 1 and 2. See also Morton, 
Strategy and Command, passim. 



4 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



the principal means of moving men and 
materiel into China. 

To secure a port on the China coast, 
and simultaneously to cut Japan's lines 
of communication to the south, the Allies 
would have to gain control of the South 
China Sea. Gaining this control, the 
Joint Chiefs realized, would in turn in- 
volve the seizure and development of 
large air, naval, and logistical bases in 
the strategic triangle formed by the south 
China coast, Formosa, and Luzon. But 
before they could safely move into this 
triangle, the Joint Chiefs decided, the 
Allies would have to secure air bases in 
the southern or central Philippines from 
which to neutralize Japanese air power 
on Luzon. The Allies would also need 
staging bases in the southern and central 
Philippines from which to mount am- 
phibious attacks against Luzon, Formosa, 
and the China coast. 

In accordance with these 1943 plans, 
Allied forces in the Pacific had struck 
westward toward the strategic triangle 
along two axes of advance. Air, ground, 
and naval forces of the Southwest Pacific 
Area, under General Douglas MacAr- 
thur, had driven up the north coast of 
New Guinea to Morotai Island, lying 
between the northwestern tip of New 
Guinea and Mindanao, southernmost 
large island of the Philippine archipel- 
ago. Simultaneously, Admiral Chester 
W. Nimitz, commander of the Pacific 
Ocean Areas, had directed the forces of 
the Central Pacific Area in a drive 
through the Gilberts, Marshalls, and 
Marianas to the Palau Isl ands, som e 500 
miles east of Mindanao.* 



(Map 1) 



The Importance of Formosa 

Studying various plans for Allied entry 
into the strategic triangle, the Joint 
Chiefs and their subordinate advisory 
committees concluded that Formosa con- 
stituted the most important single ob- 
jective in the target area. 4 The island 
possessed so many obvious advantages 
and was located in such a strategically 
important position that most planners 
in Washington believed the Allies would 
have to seize it no matter what other 
operations they conducted in the western 
Pacific. Until they seized Formosa, the 
Allies would be unable to establish and 
secure an overwater supply route to 
China. Formosa, therefore, seemed a 
necessary steppingstone to the China 
coast. Moreover, Allied air and naval 
forces could sever the Japanese lines of 
communication to the south much more 
effectively from Formosa than from 
either Luzon or the south China coast 
alone. Furthermore, from fields in 
northern Formosa, the Army Air Forces' 
new B-2g's could carry heavier bomb 
loads against Japan than from more dis- 
tant Luzon. 5 

Many planners considered Formosa 
such a valuable strategic prize that they 
devoted considerable attention to the 
possibility of bypassing all the Philip- 
pines in favor of a direct assault upon 
Formosa, Discussion of this proposal 
waxed and waned in Washington during 
much of 1943 and 1944 despite the fact 



'Nimitz' Pacific Ocean Areas included the North, 
Central, and South Pacific Areas, of which only the 
Central Pacific Area was active after the spring of 
1944- 



'See the sources cited in note i, ahove, and also 
JCS 713, 16 Feb 44, Strategy in the Pacific; JCS 713/1, 
10 Mar 44, Future Opns in the Pacific; and associated 
sources in OPD ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43). 

"Northern Formosa, affording some good airfield 
sites, lies 300-odd nautical miles closer to Tokyo than 
the best airfield areas of northern Luzon. 




MAPI 



6 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



that the strategic outline plan for the de- 
feat of Japan called for the seizure of 
bases in the southern or central Philip- 
pines before going on into the Luzon- 
Formosa-China coast triangle. Such 
discussions found the War and Navy de- 
partments internally divided. Admiral 
Ernest J. King, Commander in Chief, 
U.S. Fleet, Chief of Naval Operations, 
and Navy member of the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff, was a leading advocate of plans to 
bypass the Philippines. On the other 
hand, Admiral Nimitz and other ranking 
naval commanders in the Pacific favored 
at least reoccupying the southern or cen- 
tral Philippines before striking on to- 
ward Formosa, These officers believed it 
would be impossible to secure the Allied 
line of communications to Formosa until 
Allied land-based aircraft from southern 
Philippine bases had neutralized 
Japanese air power on Luzon. 6 

General George C. Marshall, Chief of 
Staff of the U.S. Army and Army member 
of the Joint Chiefs, played a relatively in- 
active part in the debate until late 1944, 
but at one time at least seemed inclined 
toward bypassing both the Philippines 
and Formosa in favor of a direct invasion 
of Kyushu in southern Japan. Some offi- 
cers high in Army counsels, including Lt. 
Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, the Deputy 
Chief of Staff, strongly advocated bypas- 
sing the Philippines on the way to For- 
mosa. General Henry H. Arnold, Army 

"Memo, King for Marshall, 8 Feb 44, sub: 
CINCSWPA Despatch (sic) C-121702 Feb 44, and 
other documents in OPD ABC 3S4 Pacific (z8 Jun 43); 
JCS Memo for Info 200, 7 Mar 44, sub: Sequence and 
Timing of Opns CenPac Campaign (a rpt by Nim- 
itz), and associated sources in OPD ABC 384 Pacific 
(1-17-43) Sees. 3-A and 4; Supplementary Min, JCS 
145th and 150th Mtgs, S Feb and 7 Mar 44; Min, JCS 
151st Mtg, 11 Mar 44; Min, J PS 125th Mtg, 2 Feb 44; 
Rad, Nimit.7, to King and MacArthur, 4 Jul 44, CM- 
IN 2926. 



Air Forces member of the Joint Chiefs, 
also appears to have maintained through 
much of 1943 and 1944 that it might 
prove desirable to bypass the Philip- 
pines. 7 Other Army planners, including 
those of the chief logistician, Lt. Gen. 
Brehon B. Somervell, commander of the 
Army Service Forces, favored taking the 
entire Philippine archipelago before 
making any move toward Formosa or the 
China coast. In the field, General Mac- 
Arthur stood adamant against bypassing 
any part of the Philippines, a stand in 
which he had the support of most other 
ranking Army officers in the Pacific. 8 

In March 1944 the Joint Chiefs had 
directed MacArthur to be ready to move 
into the southern Philippines before the 
end of the year and to make plans to in- 
vade Luzon during February 1945. Si- 
multaneously, they had ordered Nimitz 
to prepare plans for an assault against 
Formosa in February ig45. 9 These di- 
rectives, which left in abeyance the rela- 
tive priority of Luzon and Formosa, 



'Memo, Marshal] for King, 10 Feb 44, OPD 
ABC 384 Pacific (28 Jun 43); Memo, Col Charles K, 
Gailey, Jr. (ExecO OPD), for Maj Gen Thomas T. 
Handy (ACofS OPD), 22 Feb 44 (reporting McNar- 
ney remarks), and associated materials in OPD ABC 
384 Pacific (1-17-43) Scc ' 3-A; J PS 418/1, 23 Mar 
44, Basic Decision Which Will Give Strategic Guid- 
ance for ... the War in the Pacific, OPD ABC 384 
Pacific (8 Mar 44); Rad, Marshall to MacArthur, 23 
Jun 44, CM-OUT 55718; Supplementary Min, JCS 
150th Mtg, 7 Mar 44, 

8 Memo, Somervell for Handy, 15 Jul 44, sub: JCS 
924, and associated papers in OPD ABC 384 Pacific 

(1-17-43) Sec. 3-A; Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, 
C-3302, 20 Jun 43, CM-IN 13149; GHQ SWPA, 
Estimate of the Situation and Rough Draft Reno 
Plan (Rf.no I), 25 Feb 43, photostat copy in OCMH 
files; Min, JPS 134th, 157th, and 159th Mtgs, 8 Mar, 
28 Jun. and 26 Jul 44, 

* JCS 713/4 12 Mar 44, Future Opns in the Pacific, 
OPD ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43) Sec, 3-A. See also 
Robert Ross Smith, The Approach to the Philippines, 
UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 

(Washington, 1953), ch. I. 



THE DEBATE OVER LUZON 



7 



ostensibly settled the question of re-entry 
into the Philippines, but in mid-June the 
Joint Chiefs themselves reopened the 
question of bypassing the archipelago. 

Developments in the Pacific, Asia, and 
Europe between mid-March and mid- 
June 1944 tended to support those plan- 
ners who wanted to bypass the Philippines. 
The U.S. Army had acquired new 
intelligence indicating that the Japanese 
were rapidly reinforcing their bastions 
throughout the western Pacific, includ- 
ing Formosa. Thus, the longer the Allies 
delayed an attack on Formosa, the more 
the operation would ultimately cost. 
Army planners suggested that the Allies 
might be able to reach Formosa during 
November 1944 if the Joint Chiefs im- 
mediately decided to bypass the Philip- 
pines. Moreover, the Joint Chiefs were 
beginning to fear an imminent collapse 
of Chinese resistance — some planners 
felt that the only way to avert such an 
eventuality would be the early seizure of 
Formosa and a port on the China coast 
without undertaking intermediary opera- 
tions in the Philippines. 10 The Joint 
Chiefs were probably also stimulated by 
the success of the invasion of Normandy 
in early June and by the impending in- 
vasion of the Marianas in the Central 
Pacific, set for 15 June. At any rate, on 
13 June, seeking ways and means to 
accelerate the pace of operations in the 
Pacific, and feeling that the time might 
be ripe for acceleration, the Joint Chiefs 
asked Admiral Nimitz and General Mac- 
Arthur to consider the possibilities of 
bypassing all objectives already selected 



"JCS 713/8, 13 Jun 44, Future Opns in the Pacific, 
OPD ABC 384 Formosa (8 Sep 43) Sec. i-C; Rad, 
JCS to MacArthur and Nimitz, 13 jun 44, CM-OUT 
50007; Rad, Marshall to MacArthur, 23 Jun 44, CM- 
OUT 515718. 



in the western Pacific, including both 
the Philippines and Formosa. 11 

Neither Nimitz nor MacArthur gave 
the Joint Chiefs any encouragement. 
Both declared that the next major step 
in the Pacific after the advance to the 
Palaus-Morotai line would have to be the 
seizure of air bases in the southern or 
central Philippines. The Joint Chiefs' 
subordinate committees, examining the 
theater commanders' replies and under- 
taking new studies of their own, reaf- 
firmed the concept that the Allies would 
have to move into the central or southern 
Philippines before advancing to either 
Formosa or Luzon. Like MacArthur and 
Nimitz, the advisory bodies saw no pos- 
sibility of a direct jump to Japan. The 
Joint Chiefs of Staff, apparently with 
some reluctance, agreed. 12 

Meeting with President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt at Pearl Harbor in late July 
1944, both MacArthur and Nimitz again 
emphasized that MacArthur's forces 
would have to be firmly established in 
the southern or central Philippines be- 
fore any advance to either Formosa or 
Luzon could take place — on this point 
almost everyone was agreed, MacArthur 
then argued persuasively that it was both 
necessary and proper to take Luzon be- 



11 Rad, JCS to MacArthur and Nimitz, 13 Jun 44, 
CM-OUT 50007. See also Maurice Matloff, Strategic 
Planning for Coalition Warfare: 1941-1944, UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 
1959), ch. XXI. 

,:i Rafl, MacArthur to Marshall, CX-13891, 18 Jun 
44, CM-IN 15058; Rad, Nimitz to King and MacAr- 
thur, 4 Jul 44, CM-IN 2926; Rad, Marshall to MacAr- 
thur, 23 Jun 44, CM-OUT 55718; Min, JPS 157th, 
158th, and 159th Mtgs, 28 Jim and 12 and 21 Jul 44; 
JPS 404/5, 23 Jun 44, Future Opns in the Pacific, 
and related papers in OPD ABC 384 Formosa (8 Sep 
43) Sec. i-C and OPD ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43) 
Sec. 4; see also Smith, Approach to the Philippines, 
PP- <15>-5*. 



8 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



fore going on to Formosa, while Nimitz 
expounded a plan for striking straight 
across the western Pacific to Formosa, by- 
passing Luzon. Apparently, no decisions 
on strategy were reached at the Pearl 
Harbor conference, 13 The Formosa ver- 
sus Luzon debate continued without let- 
up at the highest planning levels for over 
two months, and even the question of 
bypassing the Philippines entirely in 
favor of a direct move on Formosa came 
up for serious discussion within Wash- 
ington planning circles again. 14 The net 
result of the debate through July 1944 
was the reaffirmation of the decision to 
strike into the southern or central Phil- 
ippines before advancing to either For- 
mosa or Luzon. The Joint Chiefs still 
had to decide whether to seize Luzon or 
Formosa, or both, before executing any 
other major attacks against Japan. 



"No evidence that strategic decisions were reached 
at Pearl Harbor is to be found in contemporary 
sources. See Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, 0—15589, 
1 Aug 44, CM-IN 496; Memo, King for Marshall and 
Arnold, 9 Aug 44 (quoting parts of a letter on the 
Pearl Harbor Conference from Nimiu to King, dated 
31 Jul 44), OPT) ABC 384 Pacific (i_i 7 „43) Sec. 4; 
Ltr, Lt Gen Robert C Richardson, COMGENPOA, 
to Marshall, i Aug 44, OPD Personal File on Gen 
Marshall. See Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, 
I Was There (New York: Whittlesey House, 1950), 
pp. 247-52. Leahy participated in the conference; 
Richardson was MacArthur's host in Hawaii. 

Some writers state that a basic decision not to by- 
pass the Philippines was reached at Pearl Harbor. 
Sec, for example: Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger 
and Milton MacKaye, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo 
(New York: The Viking Press, 1950), pp. 165-66; 
John Gunther, The Riddle of MacArthur (New 
York: Harper & Brothers, 1951), pp. 9-10; Robert E. 
Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, An Intimate His- 
tory (rev. ed.; New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950), 
pp. 809-10. Others say that a decision to take Luzon 
was made by the President at Pearl Harbor. See, for 
instance, Clark Lee and Richard Henschel, Douglas 
MacArthur (Henry Holt and Co., Inc., 1952), pp- 
170-71. None of the foregoing authors participated 
in the conference. 

"See, for example, Min, JPS 160th Mtg, 2 Aug 44. 



Luzon Versus Formosa 

The Views Presented 

General MacArthur was a most vigor- 
ous adherent of the view that the Allies 
would have to secure Luzon before mov- 
ing any farther toward Japan. Contrary 
to the views the Joint Chiefs of Staff held, 
MacArthur believed that Luzon was a 
more valuable strategic prize than For- 
mosa. He declared that the Allies would 
need to reoccupy the entire Philippine 
archipelago before they could completely 
sever Japan's lines of communication to 
the south. MacArthur also believed that 
an invasion of Formosa would prove un- 
duly hazardous unless he provided air 
and logistical support from Luzon. Fi- 
nally, he suggested, if the Allies took 
Luzon first they could then bypass For- 
mosa and strike for targets farther north, 
thus hastening the end of the war. The 
Luzon-first course of action, he averred, 
would be the cheaper in terms of time, 
men, and money. ls 

In addition, MacArthur considered 
that bypassing part of the Philippines 
would have the "sinister implication" 
of imposing a food blockade upon un- 
occupied portions of the archipelago. 
(MacArthur's argument here would not 
have stood up too well under close scru- 
tiny, for his own current plans called for 
seizing a foothold in southeastern Min- 
danao, jumping thence to Leyte in the 
east-central Philippines, and then going 
on to Luzon, initially bypassing most of 

" Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-ggo3, so Jun 43, 
CM-IN 13139; Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, CX- 
13891, 18 Jun 44, CM-IN 15058; Rad, MacArthur to 
Marshall, C-15689, g Aug 44, CM-IN 2479; Reno I, 
25 Feh 43; GHQ SWPA, Basic Outline Plan for 
Musketeer (Philippine) Opns (Musketeer I), 10 
Jul 44. 



THE DEBATE OVER LUZON 



9 



the large islands of the Visayan group, 
the bulk of Mindanao, and the Sulu 
Archipelago. 16 Of course, the bypassing 
under MacArthur's plans would not have 
lasted as long as would have been the 
case had Formosa, rather than Luzon 
been the target.) MacArthur had a more 
cogent argument, and one that was 
bound to have some influence upon 
planning in Washington. The reoccu- 
pation of the entire Philippine archipel- 
ago as quickly and early as possible was, 
MacArthur said, a national obligation 
and political necessity. To bypass any or 
all the islands, he declared, would destroy 
American honor and prestige throughout 
the Far East, if not in the rest of the 
world as well. 

Just as General MacArthur was the 
most vigorous proponent of Luzon, so 
Admiral King was the most persistent 
advocate of the Formosa-first strategy. 
King believed that the seizure of Luzon 
before Formosa could only delay the 
execution of more decisive operations 
to the north. He also argued that the 
capture of Formosa first would greatly 
facilitate the subsequent occupation of 
Luzon. Moreover, King pointed out, the 
Allies could not secure and maintain a 
foothold on the China coast until they 
had seized Formosa. Finally, he sug- 
gested, if the Allies should bypass For- 
mosa, then the principal objective in the 
western Pacific should be Japan itself, 
not Luzon. 17 

Mac<\rthur believed that the plans 
to bypass Luzon were purely Navy- 

** Musketeer I, 10 Jul 44; Musketeer II, 29 Aug 44; 
Musketeer III, 26 Sep 44. 

"See the sources cited in | note Cj above, and also 
JCS 713/10, 4 Sep 44 (memo from King for the JCS), 
and associated papers in OPD ABC 384 Pacific (1- 
17-43) Sec. 5; Min, JCS 171st and 173d Mtg, 1 and 5 
Sep 44. 



inspired. 18 Actually, the War and Navy 
Departments were as internally split dur- 
ing the Luzon versus Formosa debate as 
they had been earlier over the question 
of bypassing all the Philippines. For 
example, at least until mid-September 
1944 General Marshall leaned toward 
the Formosa-first strategy and like Ad- 
miral King had expressed the opinion 
that Japan itself, rather than Luzon, 
should be considered the substitute for 
Formosa. Most Army members of the 
Joint Chiefs' subordinate committees 
held similar views, and until September 
consistently pressed for an early decision 
in favor of Formosa. Army Air Forces 
planners, meanwhile, expressed their 
interest in Formosa as a site for B-29 
bases. 1 * 

Admiral Nimitz, the ranking naval 
officer in the Pacific, went on record until 
late September as favoring Formosa first. 
However, there are indications that his 
staff did not enthusiastically share his 
views, and there are grounds to believe 
that Nimitz grew steadily more luke- 
warm toward the idea of seizing Formosa. 
Nimitz had been at variance with Ad- 
miral King on the question of bypassing 
the entire Philippine archipelago, and it 
is possible that his support of the For- 
mosa-first strategy stemmed at least in 
part from deference to King's judgment. 
A hint of Nimitz' attitude is apparent in 
the fact that his staff was preparing plans 
to seize Okinawa, as a substitute for 

"Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, (^15689, 3 Aug 44, 
CM-IN 2479. 

"JPS 414/10, 29 Jun 44, Future Opns in the 
Pacific, and associated sources in OPD ABC 384 For- 
mosa (8 Sep 43) Sec. i-C; JCS 713/14, 7 Sep 44, Pro- 
posed Directive, and connected materials in OPD 
ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43) Sec. 5; Min, JCS 171st- 
173d Mtgs, 1, 5, and 8 Sep 44; Min, JPS 160th, i62d, 
163d, 165th, and 167th Mtgs, 2, 10, 16, and 28 Aug 
and 2 Sep 44. 



10 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Formosa, well before such an operation 
gained serious consideration among 
high-level planners in Washington. 20 

The next ranking naval officer in the 
Pacific, Admiral William F. Halsey, 
commander of the Third Fleet (and 
until 15 June 1944 commander of the 
South Pacific Area as well) , steadfastly 
opposed the Formosa-first plan. He 
wanted to go to Luzon and bypass For- 
mosa in favor of seizing Okinawa. In 
this connection Halsey relates a classic 
story concerning a discussion between 
his chief of staff, Vice Adm, Robert B. 
Carney, and Admiral King. King, pro- 
pounding his Formosa plan to Carney, 
who was arguing in favor of Luzon, 
asked, "Do you want to make a London 
out of Manila?" Carney's reply was: 
"No, sir, I want to make an England 
out of Luzon." 21 

Most of the other senior Army and 
Navy officers on duty in the Pacific also 
favored the Luzon-first strategy and ad- 
vocated bypassing Formosa. Lt. Gen. 
Robert C. Richardson, commanding 
U.S. Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas, 
strongly advised against Formosa. So, 
too, did MacArthur's air commander, 
Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, and the 
Southwest Pacific Area's naval com- 
mander, Vice Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid. 
But among the Joint Chiefs of Staff dur- 

m Rads, Nimitz to King, 18 and 24 Aug 44, CM-IN 
16755 and CM-IN 22182; Rad, Nimitz to Arnold, 5 
Sep 44, CM-IN 4996; Memo, unsigned but prepared 
by Col William L. Ritchie of OPD, who had just 
returned to Washington after talking with most of 
the ranking Army and Navy commanders in the Pa- 
cific, circa 15 Aug 44, sub: Notes for Discussion With 
General Marshall (hereinafter cited as Ritchie Notes 
for Marshall), and related sources in OPD 384 Pa- 
cific (1-17-43) Sec. 5; Fleet Admiral William F. 
Halsey and Lt. Comdr J. Bryan, III, Admiral Halsey's 
Story (New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill 
Book Co., 1947), p. 195. 

"Halsey and Bryan, Halsey's Story, p. 195. 



ing the summer and early fall of 1944 
only Admiral William D. Leahy, the 
President's Chief of Staff, favored going 
to Luzon instead of Formosa, and this 
stand represented a reversal of Leahy's 
earlier thinking on the subject. 22 

It is noteworthy that, with the possible 
exception of Nimitz, the ranking Army 
and Navy commanders in the Pacific — 
the men responsible for executing or 
supporting the operation — were opposed 
to the seizure of Formosa. In general, 
they favored a program calling for the 
capture of Luzon and a subsequent jump 
to Okinawa or Japan. In the face of this 
opinion of the commanders on the spot, 
the consensus of most high-ranking 
Army and Navy planners in Washing- 
ton — -with Leahy and General Somervell 
as outstanding exceptions — was that the 
Formosa-first course of action was strate- 
gically the sounder and, therefore, the 
most desirable course for the Allies to 
follow in the western Pacific. 

The Washington planners, however, 
had to give careful consideration to 
many factors other than ideal strategy. 
Study of these factors brought the Luzon 
versus Formosa debate to a climax in 
late September 1944. 

Tactical and Logistical Problems 

Perhaps the most influential event 
helping to precipitate the climax was 
a drastic change in the target date for 
the initial invasion of the Philippines. 
Until mid-September 1944, General Mac- 
Arthur's plans had called for the first 

11 Ritchie Notes for Marshall; George C. Kenney, 
General Kenney Reports, A Personal History of the 
Pacific War (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 
1949), p. 371; Leahy, / Was There, p. 259; Rad, 
Richardson to Marshall, R-28617, 22 Aug 44, CM-IN 



THE DEBATE OVER LUZON 



11 



entry into the Philippines to take place 
in southeastern Mindanao on 15 Novem- 
ber, while the major assault into the 
archipelago would occur at Leyte on 
20 December. On 15 September, with 
the approval of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 
MacArthur canceled preliminary Min- 
danao operations in favor of a direct 
jump from the Palaus-Morotai line to 
Leyte on 20 October. 23 

Soon after this change of schedule, 
MacArthur informed the Joint Chiefs 
that he could push on from Leyte to 
Luzon on 20 December, two months 
earlier than the date currently under 
consideration for an invasion of either 
Luzon or Formosa. This new plan, 
MacArthur suggested, would permit the 
Allies to execute the Formosa operation 
on the date already selected, but, he 
reiterated, the prior seizure of Luzon 
would render unnecessary the occupation 
of Formosa. 24 

MacArthur's new schedule contained 
much to recommend it to the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff. His proposed sequence of 
operations — Leyte on 20 October, Luzon 
on 20 December, and Formosa, possibly, 
on 20 February 1945 — -would permit the 
Allies to maintain steady pressure against 
the Japanese. On the other hand, should 
the Allies drop Luzon out of the se- 
quence, the Japanese would have ample 
time to realign their defenses during 
the interval between the Leyte and For- 
mosa operations. Moreover, eliminating 
Luzon could in no way accelerate the 
advance to Formosa — logistical prob- 
lems would make it impossible for the 

23 For the events leading up to this change in plans, 
see M. Hamlin Cannon, t.eyte: The Return to the 
Philippines, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 
WAR II (Washington, 1954), ch. I. 

"Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-18103, 21 Sep 44, 
CM-IN 19803. 



Allies to mount an assault against For- 
mosa under any circumstances before 
late February 1945. 

While MacArthur's proposals were 
gaining some favor in Washington, espe- 
cially among Army planners, Nimitz' 
proposals for advancing to Formosa and 
the south China coast were losing 
ground. 25 Plans developed in Washing- 
ton had long called for the seizure of all 
Formosa, after which amphibious forces 
would strike on westward to secure a 
port on the mainland. But Nimitz' latest 
plans provided for simultaneous assaults 
in southern Formosa and in the Amoy 
area of the China coast. Nimitz pro- 
posed to occupy the bulk of Formosa 
only if such a step proved necessary and 
feasible after he had established a firm 
bridgehead at Amoy. 

Army planners quickly decided that 
Nimitz' new plans possessed major draw- 
backs. The Japanese would hardly al- 
low Allied forces to sit unmolested in 
southern Formosa. Instead, the Japa- 
nese would mount strong counterattacks 
from northern Formosa with troops al- 
ready on the island and with reinforce- 
ments staged in from China. Occupying 
and defending one beachhead on south- 
ern Formosa and another at Amoy would 
involve problems far different from those 
the Allies had encountered previously 
in the Pacific. So far during the war, 
the Japanese had usually been hard put 
to move air and ground reinforcements 

15 The discussion of tactical and logistical problems 
in the remainder of this subsection is based generally 
upon: Min, JPS iG2d, 165th, and 167th Mtgs, 10 and 
28 Aug and 2 Sep 44; OPD, Draft Appreciation of a 
Plan of Campaign, circa 1 Sep 44, and associated 
sources in OPD 381 Strategy Sec Papers (4 Sep 44); 
Memo, Handy for Marshall, circa 5 Sep 44, sub: 
Opns in the Western Pacific, and related documents 
in OPD ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43) Sec - 5: Min > J cS 
171st and i72d Mtgs, l and 5 Sep 44. 



12 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



against the island perimeters Allied am- 
phibious task forces had seized. In the 
southern Formosa-Amoy area, on the 
other hand, the Allies would not have 
the protection of distance from major 
Japanese bases they had enjoyed in ear- 
lier campaigns. The Allies did not have 
sufficient aircraft in the Pacific to con- 
tinually neutralize all existing Japanese 
airfields within range of southern For- 
mosa and Amoy. In addition, experi- 
ence in the Pacific had demonstrated 
that Allied air and naval forces could 
not be expected to forestall all Japanese 
efforts to move strong reinforcements 
across the narrow strait between China 
and Formosa. 

Having considered these factors, Army 
planners swung to the opinion that 
a southern Formosa-Amoy operation 
would be impracticable. They believed 
that it would inevitably lead to pro- 
tracted, costly campaigns to secure all 
Formosa and large areas of the adjacent 
China mainland as well. Major ground 
campaigns of such scope could only delay 
progress toward Japan and would prove 
an unacceptable drain upon Allied 
manpower resources. 

Further study of the manpower needed 
for the southern Formosa-Amoy oper- 
ation revealed additional difficulties. 
Army intelligence estimates of Japanese 
strength in the Formosa-Amoy region, 
for example, were far higher than those 
Nimitz' staff had produced. Army plan- 
ners therefore believed that the southern 
Formosa-Amoy campaign would require 
many more combat units than Nimitz 
was planning to employ. Furthermore, 
according to various estimates made dur- 
ing September, Nimitz would lack from 
77,000 to 200,000 of the service troops 
needed for the campaign he proposed. 



Planners studied a number of sugges- 
tions for securing the necessary service 
forces. One thought, originating with 
the Navy, which was seeking ways to 
accelerate the Formosa target date, pro- 
posed taking service units from the 
Southwest Pacific Area. But MacArthur's 
command was already short of service 
troops. To remove any from his area 
might jeopardize the success of the Leyte 
operation and would certainly immobi- 
lize his forces in the central Philippines 
until long after Nimitz had secured the 
southern Formosa-Amoy region. Al- 
though the southern Formosa-Amoy and 
Luzon operations would each require 
about the same number of U.S. combat 
troops in the assault phase, MacArthur 
could count upon hundreds of thou- 
sands of loyal Filipinos to augment both 
his service and his combat strength. 
No similar source of friendly manpower 
would be available on Formosa. 

By mid-September 1944 so few service 
units were available in the United States 
that the only way Army planners could 
see to solve the service troop shortage 
for Nimitz' proposed operation was to 
await redeployment from Europe. Army 
planners and the Joint Logistic Com- 
mittee both estimated that Nimitz could 
launch the southern Formosa-Amoy 
campaign even as early as 1 March 1945 
only if the war in Europe ended by 
1 November 1944, thereby permitting 
timely redeployment of service units to 
the Pacific. And even if the Allies could 
effect such an early redeployment from 
Europe, logistical planners still felt that 
Nimitz would be unable to move against 
Formosa by 1 March 1945 unless the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff immediately decided 
to cancel the Luzon operation, thus pro- 
viding for an expeditious and unbroken 



THE DEBATE OVER LUZON 



13 



build-up of the resources required to 
execute Nimitz' campaign. On the other 
hand, the logistical experts were con- 
vinced, MacArthur could move to Luzon 
before the end of 1944 regardless of de- 
velopments in Europe. Army planners, 
not as optimistic as they had been a few 
months earlier about an early end to 
the war in Europe, pointed out that it 
would be illogical to schedule the south- 
ern Formosa-Amoy operation on the pre- 
sumption of a German collapse by 1 
November 1944. Events were to prove 
this argument sound. 

Army planners saw other combined 
logistical-tactical disadvantages in Nim- 
itz' plan. They believed, for instance, 
that the campaign would tie down so 
many troops, ships, landing craft, and 
planes that an invasion of Luzon, assum- 
ing Formosa came first, could not take 
place until November 1 945. By the same 
token any other major step toward 
Japan, such as the seizure of Okinawa, 
would be equally delayed. A hiatus of 
this length would be unacceptable for 
tactical reasons alone. In addition, the 
Luzon-first course, it appeared, would 
be far safer logistically than the southern 
Formosa-Amoy undertaking. As Army 
Service Forces planners pointed out, the 
Allied lines of communication to Luzon 
would be shorter and easier to protect 
than those to Formosa. The logisticians 
predicted that the Allies would find it 
especially difficult to safeguard the lines 
of communication to Formosa if Luzon 
remained in Japanese hands. 

Other aspects of the logistical problems 
attained disturbing overtones. Admiral 
Leahy, for example, believed that al- 
though the Formosa-first course of action 
might ultimately hasten the end of the 
war in the Pacific, the capture of Luzon 



and the bypassing of Formosa would 
prove far cheaper in terms of lives and 
other resources. By mid-September he, 
as well as most Army planners, were 
favoring what promised to be the longer 
course at the lesser cost. General Mac- 
Arthur, meanwhile, expressed the opin- 
ion that the Formosa-first strategy would 
cost not only more lives but also more 
time. He was prepared to guarantee to 
the Joint Chiefs that he could secure 
the most strategically important areas of 
Luzon — the Central Plains-Manila Bay 
region — within four to six weeks after 
initial landings on the island. 

General Marshall also began to show 
misgivings about the cost of the southern 
Formosa-Amoy operation vis-a-vis 
Luzon, although he remained convinced 
that the Formosa-first course was strategi- 
cally the more desirable. Admiral Nimitz 
expressed no strong opinion on the rela- 
tive cost of the two campaigns, but, "back- 
ing" into the problem, stated that the 
occupation of Luzon after Formosa need 
not delay the pace of the war in the 
Pacific. If Formosa came first, Nimitz 
pointed out, MacArthur's task on Luzon 
would be considerably eased and, pre- 
sumably, less costly. Admiral King, on 
the other hand, declared himself con- 
vinced that the Formosa-first course 
would save time and, therefore, reduce 
casualties over the long run. By late 
September 1944 King alone among the 
high-level planners seems to have 
retained a strong conviction along these 
lines. 

While the discussions over tactical and 
logistical problems continued in Wash- 
ington, the Allied position in China had 
been steadily deteriorating. In mid- 
September Lt. Gen. Joseph W, Stilwell, 
commanding U.S. Army forces in China, 



14 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Burma, and India and Allied Chief of 
Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, 
reported to the Joint Chiefs that Japa- 
nese offensives in eastern and southeast- 
ern China were overrunning the last air 
bases from which the China-based U.S. 
Fourteenth Air Force could effectively 
support invasions of either Luzon or 
Formosa. Chiang's armies were unable to 
either hold or recapture the air bases. 26 

This news had an obvious impact upon 
the thinking of both the ground and the 
air planners in Washington. The Army 
Air Forces had intended to expand their 
airfields in eastern China as staging 
bases for B-29's flying against targets in 
Japan, Korea, Manchuria, and Formosa, 
and to base on these fields much of the 
tactical bombardment preceding the ac- 
tual invasion of Japan. The east China 
fields now appeared irretrievably lost, 
and the Allies could not afford to expend 
the manpower necessary to retake and 
hold them. The need for the seizure and 
development of a port on the China 
coast was therefore deprived of much of 
its urgency since the Allies had needed 
such a port primarily to open a good 
supply route into China for the develop- 
ment of air bases. By the same token, 
one of the principal reasons for seizing 
Formosa — to secure a steppingstone to 
the China coast — became much less 
compelling. 

This line of thinking forced naval 
planners to reconsider the southern 
Formosa- Am oy plan. To most Navy 
planners a move to Formosa without 
the concomitant seizure of a mainland 



M Rad, Stilwell to Marshall and MacArthur, 
CFBX--32674, 16 Sep 44, CM-IN 15768. See also, 
Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, Stilwell's 
Command Problems, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1955). 



port would prove unsound, because 
Formosa lacked the anchorages and ports 
required for the large fleet and logistical 
bases the Allies needed in the western 
Pacific. Inevitably the question arose: 
If it were no longer feasible or desirable 
to seize and develop a port on the south 
China coast, was it feasible or desirable 
to occupy any part of Formosa? Since 
early September 1944 Army planners 
had been answering that question with 
an emphatic "No." 27 

The loss of existing and potential air 
base sites in eastern China, together with 
the limitations inherent in Nimitz* plans 
to occupy only southern Formosa, 
weighed heavily with Army Air Forces 
planners. There was no question but 
that B-29's could operate more effec- 
tively against Japan from northern For- 
mosa than they could from northern 
Luzon, the Mariana Islands, or western 
China, but the big bombers could accom- 
plish little more from southern Formosa 
than they could from the other base 
areas. Indeed, Saipan and Tinian in 
the Marianas lay closer to Tokyo than 
Nimitz' proposed base area in southern 
Formosa, and the two islands of the 
Marianas would be far more secure from 
Japanese air attacks. Even northern 
Luzon, some 200 miles further from 
Tokyo than southern Formosa, had some 
advantages over southern Formosa — it 
had more room for B-29 fields and 
would be safer from air attack. Finally, 
assuming that Nimitz could meet the 
most optimistic target date for the inva- 
sion of southern Formosa — 1 March 



17 Memo, Hull for Handy, a Sep 44, sub: Pacific 
Strategy, and OPD, Draft Appreciation of a Plan of 
Campaign, circa 1 Sep 44, both, with associated 
sources, in OPD ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43) Sec. 5; 
Min, JCS 173d Mtg, 5 Sep 44. 



THE DEBATE OVER LUZON 



15 



1945 — B-29's could not begin operations 
from that island until the late spring or 
early summer. The Army Air Forces was 
already planning to initiate B^zg opera- 
tions from the Marianas before the end 
of 1944. In brief, by mid-September the 
Army Air Forces had lost interest in 
Formosa and had begun to see eye to eye 
with other Army elements on the disad- 
vantages and drawbacks of the southern 
Formosa-Amoy scheme. 

An obvious political consideration 
may have had a bearing on the ultimate 
decision in the Luzon versus Formosa 
debate. General MacArthur's argument 
that it would be disastrous to United 
States prestige to bypass any part of the 
Philippines could not be dismissed. Per- 
haps more important, Admiral Leahy 
took the same point of view. By virtue 
of his intimate contact with President 
Roosevelt, it must be presumed that 
his colleagues of the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff gave Leahy's opinion careful 
consideration, 

Decision 

Whatever the political implications 
involved, the Joint Chiefs decided the 
Formosa versus Luzon question primar- 
ily upon its military merits. By the end 
of September 1944 almost all the mili- 
tary considerations — especially the 
closely interrelated logistical problems 
concerning troops and timing — had 
weighted the scales heavily in favor of 
seizing Luzon, bypassing Formosa, for- 
getting about a port on the China coast, 
and jumping on to Okinawa. Admiral 
King was the only member of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff, if not the only prominent 
military figure as well, who still main- 
tained a strong stand in favor of bypass- 



ing Luzon and executing the southern 
Formosa-Amoy operation. 

Realizing that the military and politi- 
cal factors had undermined his position, 
King took a new, negative tack in the 
debate by raising objections to the Luzon 
operation per se. He argued that the 
Luzon campaign as MacArthur had 
planned it would tie up all the Pacific 
Fleet's fast carrier task forces for at least 
six weeks for the purposes of protecting 
the Luzon beachhead and Luzon-bound 
convoys and neutralizing Japanese 
air power on both Luzon and Formosa. 
To pin down the carriers for so long 
would be unsound, King averred, and 
he therefore declared MacArthur's plan 
unacceptable to the U.S. Navy. 28 

Alerted by his deputy chief of staff 
(Maj. Gen. Richard J. Marshall, then 
in Washington on official business) , 
General MacArthur was able to provide 
Army planners with ammunition to 
counter King's last-ditch arguments. 29 
MacArthur informed the Joint Chiefs 
that his only requirement for carriers 
after the initial assault on Luzon would 
be for a small group of escort carriers to 
remain off the island for a few days to 
provide support for ground operations 
until his engineers could ready a field 
for land-based planes at the invasion 
beaches. MacArthur continued by point- 
ing out that only the first assault convoys 



5S Memo, King for Marshall, 23 Sep 44, OPD ABC 
384 Pacific (1-17-43) Sec. 5. 

a "Rads, R. J. Marshall to MacArthur, aO Sep 44, 
CM-OUT's 37000 and 37001. The first radio in- 
formed MacArthur of the nature of King's argu- 
ments, told MacArthur what Army planners needed 
to counter King's objections, and cautioned Mac- 
Arthur to make no reference to the first radio in 
replying to the second. The second radio, signed by 
R. J. Marshall, was actually a formal request for 
information sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Mac- 
Arthur. 



16 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



would be routed through dangerous 
waters north of Luzon and consequently 
require protection from the fast carrier 
task forces. Resupply and reinforcement 
convoys would come through the central 
Philippines under an umbrella of land- 
based aircraft from the island of Min- 
doro, south of Luzon, and would need 
no carrier-based air cover. Thus, Mac- 
Arthur declared, he would have no long- 
term requirement for the fast carrier 
task forces, which he could quickly re- 
lease so that Nimitz could employ them 
elsewhere. MacArthur concluded with 
the counterargument that the fast car- 
riers would be tied down to a specific 
area much longer during the proposed 
southern Formosa-Amoy operation, 
especially if Luzon remained in Japa- 
nese hands, than would be the case for 
the Luzon invasion. 30 

This exchange took much of the wind 
out of King's sails. Next, Admiral Nimitz 
withdrew whatever support he was still 
giving the Formosa plan, for he had con- 
cluded that sufficient troops could not 
be made available for him to execute 
the southern Formosa-Amoy campaign 
within the foreseeable future. Accord- 
ingly, at the end of September, he threw 
the weight of his opinion behind the 
Luzon operation, proposing that plans 
to seize Formosa be at least temporarily 
dropped. Simultaneously, Nimitz pre- 
sented for King's consideration a planned 
series of operations designed to maintain 
steady pressure against the Japanese and 
carry Allied forces speedily on toward 
Japan: MacArthur's forces would initi- 
ate the Luzon campaign on 20 December 
1944; Central Pacific forces would move 
against Iwo Jima, in the Volcano Islands 

™ Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-1849G, 28 Sep 44, 
CM-IN a6 35 8. 



some 650 miles south of Tokyo, late in 
January 1945; and the Central Pacific 
would next attack Okinawa, 850 miles 
southwest of Tokyo, and other targets 
in the Ryukyu Islands, beginning on 
1 March 1945. 31 

King accepted Nimitz' recommenda- 
tions, with one last reservation. King 
felt that the hazards involved in routing 
the Luzon assault convoys into the waters 
between Luzon and Formosa were so 
great that approval for such action should 
come directly from the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff. He raised similar objections to 
plans for having the Pacific Fleet's fast 
carrier task forces operate in the same 
restricted waters. The other three mem- 
bers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, 
agreed to leave the decision on these 
problems up to Nimitz and MacArthur, 
a settlement that King finally accepted. 32 

After King's eleventh-hour change of 
position, the Joint Chiefs were able to 
attain the unanimity that their major 
strategic decisions required. On 3 Octo- 
ber 1944 they directed General Mac- 
Arthur to launch the invasion of Luzon 
on or about 20 December and instructed 
Admiral Nimitz to execute the Iwo Jima 
and Okinawa operations on the dates he 
had proposed. Nimitz would provide 
naval cover and support, including fast 
and escort carriers, for the invasion of 
Luzon; MacArthur would provide 
Nimitz with as much air support as he 

Sl Conf Notes, Rear Adm Forrest P. Sherman 
(Niniitz' planning chief) and Rear Adm Charles M. 
Cooke (King's deputy chief of staff), 27 Sep 44, OPD 
Exec Files 17, Binder 3; ICS 713/18, 2 Oct 44, Future 
Opns in the Pacific (a memo by King to the JCS), 
OPD 384 Pacific {1-17-43) Sec. 5, Nimitz personally 
presented his views to King at a secret conference in 
San Francisco over the weekend of 29 September— 
1 October 1944. 

"JCS 713/18, 2 Oct 44; Rad, JCS to MacArthur, 
Nimitz, and Stilwcll, 3 Oct 44, CM-OUT 40782. 



THE DEBATE OVER LUZON 



17 



could from Luzon for the attack on 
Okinawa. The two commanders would 
co-ordinate their plans with those of 
B-29 units in the Pacific and India and 
with the plans of General Stilwell and 
the Fourteenth Air Force in China. 33 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff did not 
formally cancel the Formosa operation. 
Instead, they left in abeyance a final 
decision on the seizure of that island, 
but thereafter the occupation of Formosa 
as an operation of World War II never 
came up for serious consideration at the 
higher levels of Washington planning 
councils. 

The Joint Chiefs had not reached 
their decision to take Luzon, bypass 
Formosa, and, in effect, substitute Oki- 
nawa for Formosa, either lightly or 
easily. From the beginning of the Luzon 
versus Formosa debate they had be- 
lieved the seizure of Formosa and a port 
on the south China coast, bypassing 
Luzon, to be the best strategy the Allies 



33 Ibid. The B-29's operated under the direct con- 
trol of the JCS, with General Arnold acting as the 
executive agent of the JCS. 



could follow in the western Pacific. In 
the end, however, the Joint Chiefs had 
had to face the facts that the Allies could 
not assemble the resources required to 
execute that strategy, at least until after 
the end of the war in Europe, and they 
could not seriously consider delaying the 
progress of the war in the Pacific until 
Germany collapsed. In the last analysis 
then, logistical considerations alone 
would have forced the Joint Chiefs to the 
decision they reached in favor of Luzon, 
although other military realities, and 
possibly political factors as well, had some 
influence upon the outcome of strategic 
planning for operations in the western 
Pacific. 

For the Allied forces of the Pacific 
theaters, the Joint Chiefs' directive of 
3 October 1944 ended months of uncer- 
tainty. The die was cast. Luzon would 
be taken; Formosa would be bypassed. 
United States forces would recapture the 
entire Philippine archipelago in a con- 
secutive series of advances, just as Gen- 
eral MacArthur had been planning ever 
since he had left Corregidor in March 
1942. 



CHAPTER II 

The Plan for Invasion 



The Concept 

Until September 1944 General Mac- 
Arthur's plans for the reconquest of the 
Philippines, though changed often in 
detail during the weary months since 
March 1942, all called for a campaign 
divided into four phases. First would 
come seizure of a foothold in the south- 
ern Philippines, on southeastern Min- 
danao, in order to establish air bases for 
the support of the second phase. (See 
I map, p. 2Q-)\ T his would be a move into 
the central Philippines at Leyte, where 
MacArthur would develop major air and 
supply bases from which to stage and 
support the advance to Luzon, After the 
third-phase operations on Luzon had 
proceeded to the point at which neces- 
sary planes, ships, troops, and supplies 
could be released, fourth-phase attacks 
would begin for the recapture of those 
islands in the southern Philippines that 
had been bypassed during the first three 
phases. 1 

MacArthur eliminated the first-phase 
operations when, in mid-September 1 944, 



1 The concept of the fouT-phase plan for the recon- 
quest of the Philippines, together with the timing 
and selection of targets, is to be found in a series of 
plans covering the conduct of the war in the South- 
west Pacific produced at MacArthur's headquarters 
from Reno I of 25 February 1943 through Musketeer 
II of 29 August 1944, copies to be found in OPD fdes 
and precis in collection of GHQ SWPA Historical 
Record Index Cards, in OCMH files. 



the changing situation in the western 
Pacific made it possible for him to move 
directly to Leyte, bypassing Mindanao. 
The new three-phase campaign began 
with landings on small islands in Leyte 



Gulf on 17 October. 2 | (See Map 
Three days later the U.S. Sixth Army, 
Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger in command, 
sent the X and XXIV Corps ashore on 
the mainland. The rest of MacArthur's 
plan remained essentially unchanged, 
Luzon would come next, to be followed, 
when the means became available, by 
the occupation of the bypassed southern 
islands. Some of the operations in the 
southern islands were designed not only 
to liberate Filipinos but also to secure 
base sites from which to launch attacks 
on British Borneo and the Netherlands 
East Indies. 3 

From the first, General MacArthur's 
plans for the invasion of Luzon called 
for the main effort to be made at Lin- 
gayen Gulf, on the west-central shore of 
the island. The choice was practically 
inevitable, for Lingayen Gulf, where the 
Japanese had made their major landings 
in 1941, 4 provides direct access to the 



3 For details of the change in plan and of the Leyte 
landings, sec Cannon, Leyte, chs. I and IV. 

s Musketeer III, 26 Sep 44. For the planning of 
specific operations i n the sontlio rn Philippines and 
the Indies, sec below, eh. XXX. 

* Morton, The Fall of the Philippines, pages 51— 61, 
1 33-38, describes the Japanese landings of 1941. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



19 



most important military objective on 
Luzon, the Central Plains-Manila Bay 
region, and boasts the best and most ex- 
tensive stretches of good landing beaches 
on the island. Although Lingayen Gulf 
itself is something of a defile, being less 
than twenty miles across at its narrowest 
point, all other approaches to the vital 
Central Plains-Manila Bay area lead 
through still worse defiles — easily defen- 
sible isthmuses and tortuous mountain 
passes, coastal strips flanked by the sea 
on one side and mountains on the other, 
and narrower water approaches such as 
the 12-mile-wide entrance to Manila Bay. 
Lingayen Gulf gives direct access to 
Luzon's best railroad and highway net- 
work, running south through the Cen- 
tral Plains iao miles to Manila. Finally, 
the region inland from the gulf's south- 
ern shores — although not the immediate 
beach area — provides ample maneuver 
room for large military forces. Similar 
space cannot be found elsewhere on 
Luzon except at Aparri, 1 75 miles north- 
east of Lingayen Gulf on Luzon's north- 
ern shore at the end of the Cagayan 
Valley, The southern end of the Cagayan 
Valley is separated from the northeastern 
corner of the Central Plains by fifty 
miles of rugged, mountainous terrain. 

General MacArthur directed General 
Krueger's Sixth Army, supported by the 
Allied Air Forces and Allied Naval 
Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, to seize 
and secure a beachhead on Lingayen 
Gulf and then drive south through the 
Central Plains in order to take Manila 
and open Manila Bay. Operations to 
complete the occupation of Luzon would 
follow the execution of the Sixth Army's 
initial missions, but plans for the later 
maneuvers MacArthur left for future 
determination. Air and logistical bases 



for the support of subsequent operations 
against Japan would be constructed on 
Luzon, and the lawful government of 
the Philippine Commonwealth would be 
re-established in its capital city, Manila. 5 
The political implications of the last 
section of MacArthur's directive could 
hardly have been lost on the planners, 
who realized that the Luzon Campaign 
was not to be undertaken for purely 
military reasons. The political objec- 
tives of the campaign, as well as the 
American appetency to avenge on the 
ground the defeat of 1941-42 undoubt- 
edly influenced planning and would just 
as surely influence the conduct of 
operations. 

General MacArthur made tentative 
plans for a number of subsidiary opera- 
tions along Luzon's extensive coast line, 
many of them scheduled for execution 
at points where the Japanese had landed 
in 1941. MacArthur's planners designed 
the secondary attacks both to provide 
support for the main effort at Lingayen 
Gulf and to keep the Japanese off bal- 
ance. The operations would take place 
either before or after the Lingayen assault 
as the occasion demanded and if their 
execution proved necessary and feasible. 6 
All of them, in comparison with the 
assault at Lingayen Gulf, would present 
knotty problems— terrain, air and naval 



"GHQ, SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44, Sixth Army G-3 
Jnl File Luzon, 14—31 Oct 44. 

' MusKKfi-KR III, 2(1 Sep 44; GHQ SWPA OI 73, 12 
Oct 44.: GHQ SWPA Staff Studies; Mike I (Lingayen 
Gulf), Edition No. 2, 7 Oct 44; Mike II (Dingalan 
Bay), 4 Oct 44; Mike III (Vigan), 23 Nov 44; Mike IV 
(Nasugbu and Balayan Bays), 7 Nov 44; Mike VI 
(Batangas and Tayabas Bays), 2 Jan 45; and Mike 
VII (Zambales coast), Edition No. 3, 14 Jan 45. All 
in OPD ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43), various sections. 
GHQ SWPA OI 74, '3 Oct 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 13 
Oct 44; GHQ SWPA OI 8o, 20 Nov 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl 
File, 20 Nov 44. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



21 



support, and logistics; all of them would 
be carefully examined by MacArthur's 
planners before they were undertaken. 7 
MacArthur originally intended to 
send his Lingayen-bound assault convoys 
north along the eastern coast of Luzon, 
west around the northern tip of the 
island, through Luzon Strait, and then 
south down the west coast to the gulf. 8 
This scheme required air cover by land- 
based planes operating from some north- 
ern Luzon field that would have to be 
captured well before the Lingayen 
assault convoys sortied from Lcyte Gulf. 
General MacArthur's planners, led by 
Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Chamberlin, the As- 
sistant Chief of Staff G-g at GHQ SWPA, 
accordingly had to give serious consider- 
ation to the seizure of an air base site 
at Aparri. For a time, Chamberlin also 
thought it might prove necessary to estab- 
lish land-based air strength at Legaspi, 
on the eastern tip of the Bicol Peninsula, 
Luzon's southeasternmost extension. 
Legaspi-based planes could supplement 
convoy cover to be provided by escort 
carriers (CVE's) and could also help 
support the ground forces at Lingayen 
Gulf until land-based aircraft could be 
sent forward to fields along the gulf's 
shores. 

MacArthur, on Chamberlin's advice, 
soon dismissed the Legaspi plan from 
consideration. The operation posed 
such logistic problems that its execution 
might delay the Lingayen Gulf assault 
for a month. Furthermore, Chamberlin 
had decided, the additional air support 
that could be provided from Legaspi 



probably would not be needed. 3 The 
Aparri operation likewise created grave 
logistical problems, since it called for 
the efforts of a corps containing two 
reinforced divisions. The corps would 
have to hold an isolated perimeter 600 
miles from the nearest Allied air bases 
(at Leyte) but only 300 miles from 
major Japanese air concentrations on 
southern Formosa,- and much closer to 
Japanese fields on Luzon, for a month or 
more before the Lingayen assault. 10 

Yet MacArthur had to give continuing 
consideration to the Aparri operation. 
Admiral King, for one, believed that 
until Japanese air strength on Luzon 
could be completely neutralized it would 
be unsafe to route assault convoys around 
the island unless land-based fighters were 
operating from Aparri. 11 Admiral Kin- 
kaid, MacArthur's naval commander, 
agreed with King, and went on to 
raise other objections to the proposed 
northern route, Kinkaid was especially 
worried about weather conditions off 
northern Luzon, where severe typhoons 
were known to occur around 20 De- 
cember, the date MacArthur had set 
for the Lingayen assault. Although he 
had previously opposed sending the 
Lingayen-bound convoys through the 
confined waters around the Visayan 
Islands, reconsideration prompted Kin- 
kaid to recommend that the assault 
shipping employ the Visayan route, 
where the seas were more protected and 



1 See, for example, the examinati on of pro posals 



ch. XII, 



below. 



for operations in southern Luzon in 

8 Musketeer III, 26 Sep 44, and other plans cited 
previously in this section. 



°Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-14608, 8 Jul 44, 
CM-IN 6202; WD Telecon, Handy (in Washington) 
and Maj Gen John E. Hull (Chief, Theater Gp OPD, 
in Brisbane, Australia), 7 Aug 44, CM-OUT WD- 
TC-797- 

10 Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-51429, 2 Nov 44, 
CM-IN 1749; Musketeer III, 26 Sep 44. 

11 Rad, Marshall to MacArthur, 31 Oct 44, CM- 
OUT 55075. 



22 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



where air cover could be provided by 
Allied Air Forces planes operating from 
Mindoro Island. 12 

General Chamberlin had already 
made a thorough study of the Visayan 
route and had recommended sending 
resupply and reinforcement convoys to 
Lingayen Gulf through the Visayans and 
up the west coast of Luzon, MacArthur, 
approving this recommendation, de- 
cided to establish land-based aircraft at 
the southwestern corner of Mindoro, 
150 miles south of Manila, before the 
assault at Lingayen Gulf in order to pro- 
vide air cover for the follow-up shipping 
and to increase the scale of air operations 
against Luzon. 

Admiral Nimitz, responsible for sup- 
porting the invasion of Luzon with 
carriers, surface combat vessels, and am- 
phibious shipping, was also interested in 
the Visayan route. Accordingly, when 
representatives of MacArthur and 
Nimitz conferred on plans early in No- 
vember they quickly agreed that the 
assault convoys would be routed through 
the Visayans and that only the fast carrier 
striking forces of Admiral Halsey's 
Third Fleet, which was to provide stra- 
tegic cover and support for the invasion 
of Luzon, need operate off northern 
Luzon, Aparri, under this new concept, 
would not be taken unless a completely 
adverse air and naval situation developed 
between the time of the Mindoro attack 
and die invasion at Lingayen Gulf. lfi 



12 Interview, author with Kinkaid, 25 Jun 51, notes 
in OCMH files; Comments of I.t. Gen. Stephen J. 
Chamberlin (Ret.), 20 Jan 57; Comments of Admiral 
Thomas C Kinkaitl (Ret.), 15 Jan 57. 

"Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-18496, 28 Sep 44, 
CM-IN 26358; Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C- 
51429, 2 Nov 44, CM-IN 1749; Rad, MacArthur to 
Marshall, ^51706, 7 Nov 44, CM-IN 6485, 



Changing the Target Dates 

MacArthur decided early in November 
that Mindoro would be the only major 
operation to precede the assault at Lin- 
gayen Gulf. It was not, however, until 
the last day of the month that GHQ 
SWPA finally settled the dates for the 
two operations. 

In conformity with the Joint Chiefs' 
directive, MacArthur had scheduled the 
Mindoro attack for 5 December and the 
Lingayen Gulf operation for 20 Decem- 
ber. A number of developments within 
the Southwest Pacific Area forced the 
theater commander, with manifest reluc- 
tance, to consider changing the dates. 
First, operations on Leyte were consum- 
ing more time and effort than antici- 
pated. The Japanese had sent such 
strong reinforcements to Leyte that on 
10 November General MacArthur had 
to ask Admiral Nimitz to make available 
another infantry division from Central 
Pacific resources to execute an amphibi- 
ous flanking attack on Leyte's west coast 
during the first week of December. 14 

Lt. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, Mac- 
Arthur's chief of staff, advised the theater 
commander that the movement of the 
new division to Leyte and the execution 
of the flanking operation would tie up 
so much shipping and so many escort 
vessels that the Lingayen invasion would 
have to be postponed at least a week be- 
yond the scheduled date of 20 December. 
This delay, Sutherland pointed out, 
would mean that the assault convoys 
heading for Lingayen Gulf would have 

"This was the 77th Infantry Division, which had 
originally been part of Sixth Army Reserve for the 
Leyte operation but which had been released to 
Nimitz' control, without having been committed 
on Leyte, on ag October. See Cannon, Leyte, pp. 

|g76-77- 1 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



23 



to sail through Visayan waters under a 
full moon, a meteorological considera- 
tion that would force Admiral Kinkaid 
to request still further postponement of 
the Luzon invasion. 15 Moreover, Kin- 
kaid's Allied Naval Forces did not have 
enough assault shipping and escort ves- 
sels to execute both the Mindoro landing 
and the amphibious flanking operation 
at Leyte during the first week of Decem- 
ber. 16 For these reasons alone, it would 
probably be necessary to reschedule the 
Lingayen Gulf and Mindoro operations. 

Next, heavy rains and Japanese air 
attacks had so slowed airfield construc- 
tion at Leyte that it was impossible to 
find room on the island for the planes 
required for air defense and support of 
ground action there, let alone those 
needed to support advances to Mindoro 
and Luzon. General Kenney, the South- 
west Pacific's air commander, in mid- 
November informed MacArthur that it 
would be 1 December at least before 
enough planes could be based on Leyte 
to cover the jump to Mindoro, and that 
it would be the 15th before those aircraft 
could neutralize all Japanese fields with- 
in fighter and medium bomber range of 
the Mindoro beaches. 17 

Kenney's estimates, coming as they did 
on top of Sutherland's and Kinkaid's 
discouraging reports about the shipping 
situation, proved a real blow to Mac- 



15 Rad, Sutherland to MacArthur and Krueger, 
C— 52192, 15 Nov 44, Sixth Army G— g Jnl File Luzon, 
25 Nov-i Dec 44, 

"Cannon, Leyte ,\p. syb.\ 

"ACofS G-3 Sixth Army, Notes on Love III 
(Mindoro) Conf at Hq Sixth Army, 16 Nov 44, Sixth 
Army G— 3 Jnl File Mindoro, 28 Sep-20 Nov 44; Rad, 
MacArthur to Nimitz and Marshall, CAX— 11669, 
16 Nov 44, CM— IN 16704; Sixth Ar my Rpt M indoro. 
pp. 10-11, See Cannon, Leyte, pp. 1 85-88]|"3o6-Q7,| 
for further information on airfield construction at 
Leyte. 



Arthur, for the 5 December date for 
Mindoro had been predicated on the as- 
sumption that the Allied Air Forces 
would have control of the air over the 
central Visayans by that time. Despite 
the increasingly adverse outlook, Mac- 
Arthur was not yet ready to change the 
Mindoro and Lingayen dates, but he was 
soon subjected to additional pressure 
from Admiral Kinkaid. 

Kinkaid could not send assault ship- 
ping and escort vessels into the restricted 
Visayan waters unless air control was 
assured, for to do so, he felt, would in- 
vite disastrous and unjustifiable naval 
losses. Halsey's Third Fleet carrier 
groups had left Philippine waters and 
could not, in any case, provide close sup- 
port for an advance to Mindoro, and 
Kinkaid was reluctant to send any of his 
Seventh Fleet escort carriers into the con- 
fined waters of the Visayans. So con- 
cerned was Kinkaid with the potential 
strength of Japanese air reaction to the 
Mindoro and Lingayen operations that 
he proposed to MacArthur that the two 
be canceled as currently planned in favor 
of a step-by-step advance through the 
many islands of the central Visayans, 
moving forward land-based aircraft with 
each step. Kinkaid was by no means 
wholeheartedly in favor of this slow 
method of advance, but he felt that only 
by proposing such a sweeping change in 
plans could he persuade MacArthur to 
reconsider the scheduled dates. 18 

Kinkaid, like Kenney, thought that the 
Mindoro operation ought to be post- 
poned at least until 15 December, but it 

" Memo, Kinkaid for MacArthur, 30 Nov 44, CofS 
GHQ SWPA File, ANF 116, precis in collection of 
GHQ SWPA Hist Red Index Cards in OCMH files; 
Interview, author with Kinkaid, 25 Jun 51; Kinkaid 
Comments, 15 Jan 57; Chamberlin Comments, 20 
Jan 57. 



24 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



soon became apparent to Kinkaid that 
even that date could not be met unless 
CVE support were made available to 
cover the assault. For one thing, airfield 
construction on Leyte continued to fall 
behind schedule. For another, airfield 
facilities at Leyte were such, and many 
of Kenney's pilots so inexperienced, that 
land-based planes from Leyte could not 
risk constant night take-offs and landings 
during the period of the Mindoro assault. 
Therefore, land-based planes would be 
unable to cover the assault convoys or 
the Mindoro beaches during the first and 
last hours of daylight, the two most criti- 
cal times of the day. Weighing all these 
factors Kinkaid, who had already been 
under considerable pressure from Gen- 
eral Chamberlin to provide CVE's for 
the Mindoro operation, finally and with 
misgivings decided to send a small force 
of CVE's to Mindoro with the assault 
convoys. He organized a covering force 
of 6 CVE's (replacing most of their tor- 
pedo and dive bombers with fighter 
planes) and, for escort and antiaircraft 
roles, added 3 old battleships, 3 cruisers, 
and 18 destroyers. 1 * 

Other naval and air support problems 
also forced MacArthur to give considera- 
tion to changing the dates. MacArthur 
wanted the Third Fleet's fast carrier 
groups to conduct an extensive series of 
strategic air strikes to support both the 
Mindoro and the Lingayen landings. 
Halsey was willing to provide the desired 
support to enable MacArthur to meet 
the 5 December target date for Mindoro, 
but recommended a more than 15-day 
interval between Mindoro and Lingayen. 
The inadequacies of land-based air sup- 

,9 Rad, Kinkaid to King, 0235 27 Nov 44, CM-IN 
$6547; Kinkaid Comments, 15 Jan 57; Chamberlin 
Comments, 20 Jan 57. 



port at Leyte, the Third Fleet com- 
mander pointed out, had made it 
necessary for the carriers to remain in 
Philippine waters an unconscionably 
long period — the fleet was in great need 
of repairs, rest, replenishment, pilot re- 
placement and recuperation, and general 
servicing. 20 

Admiral Nimitz likewise felt that Mac- 
Arthur's schedule did not take fleet re- 
quirements sufficiently into account. 
Knowing that the Third Fleet's need for 
rest would be even greater after the inva- 
sion of Luzon, especially if MacArthur's 
Mindoro and Lingayen dates were not 
postponed, Nimitz had already sought 
approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to 
change the target dates for Two Jima and 
Okinawa, originally set for 20 January 
and 1 March, respectively, to 3 February 
and 15 March. The Joint Chiefs, recog- 
nizing the close interdependence of oper- 
ations in the Southwest and Central 
Pacific Areas, agreed to Nimitz' 
recommendations. 21 

Nimitz pointed out to MacArthur 
that with an adequate rest period before 
Mindoro the Third Fleet could return 
to Philippine waters to neutralize Japa- 
nese air power on Luzon for a consider- 
able period. Without such rest, the 
fleet's operations would be so limited in 
scope that it simply could not meet Mac- 
Arthur's requirements for carrier-based 
air support. Nimitz, accordingly, also 
recommended that the Mindoro and 

2 " Rati, MacArthur to Nimitz and Marshall, CAX- 
] ififig, 115 Nov 44, CM-IN 16704; Rad, MacArthur to 
Kinkaid, Halsey, and Nimitz, CX-54038, 27 Nov 44, 
CM-IN 7958; Rad, Halsey to Nimitz, 04O0 29 Nov 44, 
CM-IN 29593. 

21 Rad, Nimitz to King, 3040 17 Nov 44, CM-IN 
16705; Rad, Nimitz to MacATthur, 0200 17 Nov 44, 
CM-IN 16045; Rad, Nimitz to MacArthur, 0502 25 
Nov 44, CM-IN 25078; Rad, Nimitz to Halsey and 
King, 0324 29 Nov 44, CM-IN 29579. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



25 



Lingayen target dates be postponed until 
adequate land- and carrier-based air 
power could be made available for the 
proper support of both operations. 22 

In the face of the recommendations 
and estimates from Sutherland, Kenney, 
Kinkaid, Halsey, and Nimitz, General 
MacArthur, with far more reluctance 
than enthusiasm, decided to postpone 
the Mindoro and Lingayen target dates. 
On 30 November he set the Mindoro 
date forward ten days, to 15 December. 23 

Postponements were not over insofar 
as the Lingayen Gulf operation was con- 
cerned. MacArthur wanted to follow 
the formula of a 15-day interval between 
Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf, but he 
found this impossible. First, he had to 
consider the fact that Admiral Kinkaid 
would object to sailing the Luzon assault 
convoys through the Visayans under the 
full moon of late December, and would 
undoubtedly ask postponement of the 
Lingayen attack well into January. Naval 
planners also pointed out that moon and 
tide conditions at Lingayen Gulf itself 
would by no means be as favorable for 
amphibious operations on 30 Decem- 
ber as they would be a week to ten days 
later. And from Kinkaid's point of view 
an additional delay in the invasion of 
Luzon would probably be necessary to 
give his Allied Naval Forces adequate 
time for rest, replenishment, loading, 
and rehearsals between the Mindoro and 
Lingayen assaults. 

Air support problems again had a 
major influence on the decision, Kenney 
informed MacArthur that the continued 



H Rads, Nimitz to MacArthur, 0502 25 Nov 44 and 
*349 29 Nov 44, CM-IN's 25078 and 29598. 

B Rads, MacArthur to Marshall, C-54164 and CA- 
54167, 30 Nov 44, CM.-IN 306 (Dee) and CM-IN 
89666 (Nov). 



slow pace of airfield construction at 
Leyte would make it impossible for the 
Allied Air Forces to meet a Lingayen 
Gulf target date of 30 December. Seek- 
ing a method to help overcome the con- 
struction difficulties at Leyte, Kenney 
recommended that a much larger air 
base than originally planned be estab- 
lished in southwestern Mindoro, and the 
additional construction that he proposed 
could not be completed by 30 December. 
The Southwest Pacific's air commander, 
and other planners as well, also pointed 
out that a longer interval than fifteen days 
between the Mindoro and Lingayen op- 
erations would probably be required to 
assure the complete neutralization of Jap- 
anese land-based air power on Luzon. 24 
In the end, MacArthur selected 9 Jan- 
uary as the date for the Lingayen assault, 
a final postponement that provides an- 
other illustration of the interdependence 
of MacArthur's and Nimitz' operations. 25 
Many of the combat vessels and most of 
the amphibious shipping the Southwest 
Pacific needed for the Luzon invasion 
would have to be borrowed from re- 
sources under Admiral Nimitz' control. 
The ships could not be returned to the 
Central Pacific in time for Nimitz to 
meet an Iwo Jima target date of 3 Feb- 
ruary, and again the necessary period for 
repair and replenishment of the carrier 
striking forces would also have to be 
moved forward. Therefore, the Central 
Pacific commander had to reset Iwo Jima 



M Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-54164, 30 Nov 
44; Kenney, General Kenney Reports, pp. 478-79; 
Comdr Luzon Attack Force (Kinkaid) Action Rpt 
Luzon, pp. s_4 (this document is simultaneously the 
report of the ANF SWPA, the Seventh Fleet, Task 
Force 77, and the Luzon Attack Force and is here- 
inafter cited as Luzon Attack Force Action Rpt); 
Kinkaid Comments, 15 Jan 57, 

™ Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, 0-54164, go Nov 44. 



26 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



for 19 February, a change that simulta- 
neously forced him to postpone the 
invasion of Okinawa to 1 April. 26 

These were the last changes Nimitz 
had to make in his schedule, and Mac- 
Arthur, when he set Mindoro for 15 
December and Lingayen Gulf for 9 Jan- 
uary, had made what he expected to be 
his final changes. The dates were as firm 
as Allied planners could make them— 
only the Japanese could force further 
changes. 

Tactical Plans 

The Intelligence Basis 

When, in mid-October, General Mac- 
Arthur directed the major subordinate 
commands within the Southwest Pacific 
to begin preparations for the Luzon op- 
eration, he assigned the bulk of his U.S. 
Army ground combat and service forces 
to the undertaking. 2 * Likewise, most of 
Kenney's Allied Air Forces and practi- 
cally every ship and landing craft of 
Kinkaid's Allied Naval Forces would 
participate. 28 No one expected the Min- 
doro operation to turn into a major 



2 *Rad, Nimitz to King, 0315 3 Dec 44, CM-IN 
2908. For further information on setting the target 
date of the Okinawa operation, see Roy K. Appleman, 
James M. Burns, Russell A. Gugeler, and John Ste- 
vens, Okinawa: The Last Battle^ UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1948), 
pp. 19, 28. 

a This subsection is based primarily upon the fol- 
lowing general sources: G-z GHQ SWPA, DSEI's, 
12 Oct 44-9 Jan 45, filed in the G-3 GHQ Jnl Files 
for the corresponding dates; G-2 GHQ SWPA, 
Monthly Summaries of Enemy Dispositions, Oct, 
Nov, and Dec 44, filed in the G-3 GHQ Jnl Files for 
31 Oct, go Nov, and 31 liec 44. respectively; G-2 
GHQ FEC, The Guerrilla Resistance Movement in 
the Philippines, passim, copy in OCMH files; G-2 
Sixth Army, Summary of Info Affecting Mike I, 30 
Oct 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 14-31 Oct 44. 

M See app. A-i for organization of the Southwest 
Pacific Area. 



battle. The island was known to have a 
weak Japanese garrison, and there didn't 
seem to be much likelihood that the 
enemy would attempt major counterat- 
tacks once Allied forces were ashore. On 
the other hand, intelligence indicated 
that the Luzon operation promised to 
be the biggest and toughest yet to take 
place within the Pacific. Every scrap of 
information that Maj. Gen. Charles A. 
Willoughby, MacArthur's intelligence 
chief, was able to gather during the wan- 
ing months of 1944 served to confirm 
that view. 

The Southwest Pacific's intelligence 
estimates concerning Japanese strengths, 
dispositions, capabilities, and intentions 
on Luzon were reasonably accurate from 
the start of planning. The abundance of 
information must be attributed in large 
measure to the efforts of guerrillas on 
Luzon, an island that was becoming a 
veritable hotbed of guerrilla resistance, 
both American-led and Filipino-led, even 
before Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wain- 
wright's surrender at Corregidor in May 
1942. Carefully nurtured by MacArthur's 
headquarters, especially after mid- 1943, 
the guerrilla organizations had grown 
steadily in strength and effectiveness not 
only as sabotage units but also as valu- 
able sources of information. The Leyte 
invasion in October 1944 gave great en- 
couragement to the guerrillas, who re- 
doubled their efforts in preparation for 
the invasion of Luzon, which they real- 
ized could not be too far off. Through- 
out 1944 supplies of all types had been 
sent to the guerrillas, first by submarine 
and later by airdrop and clandestine in- 
terisland transportation. After the estab- 
lishment of the Allied base on Leyte, the 
flow of supplies increased by leaps and 
bounds. The guerrillas themselves estab- 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



27 



lished a network of radio communica- 
tions that soon came to be sustained and, 
to some extent, controlled by Mac- 
Arthur's headquarters, which also sent 
into Luzon special intelligence parties to 
develop new sources of information and 
provide guerrilla efforts with more 
effective direction, 

In the end, one of the major difficul- 
ties Southwest Pacific intelligence agen- 
cies had was not obtaining information 
from Luzon but rather sifting the ple- 
thora of guerrilla reports, which attained 
every conceivable degree of accuracy and 
detail. Once sifted, the information had 
to be evaluated and correlated with that 
received from other sources such as radio 
intercepts, captured documents, and 
prisoner interrogations. 

When detailed planning for the ad- 
vance of Luzon began, General Will- 
oughby could not know that the Japanese 
would choose to make a stand at Leyte 
—nor, as a matter of fact, did the Japa- 
nese. Thus, Willoughby expected the 
Japanese to make their principal defen- 
sive effort on Luzon. In mid-October he 
estimated that a total Japanese garrison 
of nearly 121,000 men, including four 
infantry divisions and three independent 
mixed brigades (each about half the size 
of a standard Japanese infantry division), 
was on Luzon, and he anticipated that 
the Japanese would strongly reinforce 
the island before the Allies could reach 
it. He also assumed that Sixth Army 
would encounter the main Japanese de- 
fenses in the militarily important Lin- 
gayen Gulf, Central Plains, and Manila 
Bay areas. He expected the Japanese to 
deploy strong forces along the Lingayen 
shores and in successive delaying 
positions down the Central Plains. 

When the Japanese began sending 



strong reinforcements to Leyte, Will- 
oughby had to make many revisions in 
his Luzon estimates. He noted the shift- 
ing of units on Luzon to take over the 
areas vacated by the forces sent to Leyte, 
and he kept track of new units arriving 
on Luzon. In mid-December he esti- 
mated that the Japanese had on Luzon a 
tank division, 5 infantry divisions, 6 inde- 
pendent mixed brigades, and 2 separate 
infantry regiments, thereby identifying 
all the major Japanese ground force units 
already there or soon to reach the island. 
He had also found out that large num- 
bers of naval troops and Japanese Army 
Air Force units were on the island, and 
he had identified the commanders of 
most of the major units. 

Willoughby estimated that a large 
and potentially dangerous concentration 
of Japanese forces held the region imme- 
diately east, northeast, and southeast of 
Lingayen Gulf, a concentration that 
could seriously threaten the Allied beach- 
head or the left flank of Allied forces 
moving south down the Central Plains 
toward Manila, He further estimated 
that the Japanese would deploy strong 
forces to defend the Clark Field area, a 
well-developed air center lying seventy 
miles south of Lingayen Gulf and about 
fifty miles north of Manila. General 
Willoughby was also concerned about 
Japanese strength in southern Luzon, 
below Manila, and deduced that the 
Japanese expected a major Allied effort 
along the island's southern coast. Finally, 
he devoted considerable attention to 
Bataan Peninsula "as possibly the site of a 
historically repetitive delaying action." 29 

In detail, Willoughby estimated that 
the Japanese would have at least two 

"G-! GHQ SWPA, DSEI 1017, 7-8 Jan 45, G-$ 
GHQ Jnl File, 8 Jan 45. 



28 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



infantry divisions in position to defend 
Lingayen Gulf and environs, and, until 
the first week in January, he anticipated 
that the Japanese would defend all the 
gulf's beaches strongly. He insisted that 
the Japanese could mount strong and 
rapid counterattacks against the Allied 
beachhead, possibly employing as a 
spearhead the tank division, which, he 
thought, the Japanese would hold mo- 
bile in the Central Plains. He further 
estimated that the Japanese might build 
up a strong central reserve of infantry 
units not committed to specific defense 
roles but rather held ready to counter- 
attack at any point during the early 
stages of the operation. 

As time passed and more information 
concerning the Japanese became avail- 
able from Luzon, Willoughby raised his 
October estimates of Japanese strength. 
As of late December, in his final estimate 
before the assault, he reckoned that the 
Japanese garrison numbered about 
152,500 troops of all categories. 

The estimates concerning Japanese 
ground forces presented only one impor- 
tant aspect of the Southwest Pacific's 
intelligence problem — the task of deter- 
mining Japanese air and naval strengths 
and capabilities was equally important 
and, probably, much more difficult. 
Southwest Pacific intelligence agencies 
believed that the Japanese would com- 
mit all their available air strength in 
counterattacks against Allied forces while 
they were moving toward Luzon and 
while the ground forces were establish- 
ing the beachhead. Willoughby assumed 
that the Japanese would maintain their 
Philippine air strength at 400-500 planes, 
the bulk of them based on Luzon. Fur- 
thermore, he expected that despite the 
best efforts of Allied land-based and 



carrier-based aircraft, the Japanese could 
have 300-400 planes on Luzon as of 9 
January. 

The Japanese could easily reinforce 
their air garrison on Luzon from For- 
mosa, China, the Indies, and the 
Ryukyus; they could also stage in planes 
from the homeland. For instance, the 
Japanese could move 400-500 planes to 
Formosa from the home islands within 
a week after the Allied assault at Lin- 
gayen Gulf and, with planes based at 
such nearby bases and on Luzon, could 
mount daily attacks with 150 planes for 
a period of at least ten days. 30 

Estimates of Japanese naval capabili- 
ties and intentions changed drastically, 
of course, after the Battle of Leyte Gulf. 
Although the Allies had anticipated 
strong naval counterattack against Luzon, 
they now knew that the Japanese Navy 
was incapable of a major, sustained ac- 
tion. The Japanese could bring together 
a respectable but unbalanced force if 
they chose to concentrate the scattered 
elements of their fleet, but the force 
would be no match for the one the Allies 
could assemble. Nevertheless, Allied in- 
telligence agencies considered it likely 
that the Japanese might risk some ships 
in hit-and-run raids, and it was known 
that the Japanese had large combat ves- 
sels based in Indochina waters, within 
easy sailing distance of Luzon and Min- 
doro. The only other naval threat 
seemed to be that posed by small suicide 

a ° In addition to the sources cited in note 27, above, 
information on air intelligence estimates is derived 
from: AAF SWPA, Intel Summary 252, 30 Dec 44, 
G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 30 Dec 44; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, 
Opns in POA During Jan 45, 31 Jul 45, pp g, 10-12, 
copy in OCMH files; AAF SWPA OI 73, 17 Oct 44, 
and amendments thereto, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 17 Oct 
44; ANF SWPA Opn Plan No. 17-44. Sixth Army 
G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-2 Dec 44; Sixth Army* Rpt 
Luzon, II, 37, 30. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



29 



craft, coveys of which the Japanese were 
known to be hiding along Luzon's 
southern and western coasts. 31 

Ground Force Plans 

The task confronting the Southwest 
Pacific planners was clear. They had to 
allot sufficient forces to the Luzon opera- 
tion to overcome a strong Japanese gar- 
rison that they believed would be 
reinforced before 9 January; secure a 
beachhead against possible determined 
opposition at the beaches; drive south 
through the Central Plains against antic- 
ipated strong defenses; protect the beach- 
head against expected counterattack; and 
secure the Central Plains-Manila Bay 
area in four to six weeks, the period 
within which General MacArthur had 
promised the Joint Chiefs he could se- 
cure that strategically important region. 
In addition, sufficient naval and air 
strength, both land- and carrier-based, 
had to be assembled to counter whatever 
air and naval threat the Japanese could 
pose. 

Changes in the intelligence estimates 
were reflected by corresponding changes 
in the size of the force General Mac- 
Arthur assigned to the Luzon operation. 
In October, in accordance with Will- 
oughby's estimates at that time, Mac- 
Arthur allocated to General Krueger's 
Sixth Army, responsible for the Lingayen 
invasion, the I Corps, consisting of the 
6th and 43d Infantry Divisions, and the 
XIV Corps, containing the 37th and 
40th Infantry Divisions. Also assigned 
to the Sixth Army for reserve and follow- 
up roles were the 25th Infantry Division, 

31 CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During 
Jan 45, pp. 5, 48-49; Luzon Attack Force Action Rpt, 
pp. 4, 7, 48; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, III, 28-go. 



the 11th Airborne Division, the 158th 
Regimental Combat Team (a separate 
organization not part of any division) , 
the 13th Armored Group (initially con- 
sisting of a tank destroyer, an engineer, 
and two tank battalions), and the sepa- 
rate 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion. Sup- 
porting elements for all these units 
included 13 nonorganic field artillery 
battalions of various calibers, 2 chemical 
mortar battalions, 2 other tank battal- 
ions, the bulk of 5 enginee boat and 
shore regiments, 4 amphibious tractor 
battalions, and 16 engineer aviation 
battalions. The total assault force num- 
bered approximately 191,000 men, of 
whom 131,000 were classified as combat 
troops. Base service troops to come for- 
ward with the initial echelons brought 
the total to 203, ooo. 32 

Simultaneously, MacArthur assigned 
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger's Eighth 
Army the task of executing a subsidiary 
landing on Luzon, the troops ultimately 
to pass to Sixth Army control. The 
forces thus allocated included XI Corps 
headquarters, the 32d Infantry Division, 
and the separate 1 12th Cavalry and 503d 
Parachute Regimental Combat Teams 
(RCT's) together with supporting units. 
For General Headquarters Reserve Mac- 
Arthur set aside the 33d and 41st 
Infantry Divisions. 33 

With the new estimates in hand it be- 
came evident that the Sixth Army would 
need additional forces. Therefore, GHQ 
SWPA laid plans to ship to Luzon within 
two months after the assault the 33d, 
38th, 41st, and 77th Infantry Divisions 
and the 1st Cavalry Division, in addition 
to the units already allocated to the Sixth 
and Eighth Armies. The 77th Division 

31 GHQ SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44. 

83 Ibid.; GHQ SWPA Staff Study Mike II, 4 Oct 44. 



30 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



was used on Leyte, and the 41st never 
reached Luzon. The rest of the fore- 
going units were employed on Luzon, as 
was the bulk of the 19th and 34th Regi- 
mental Combat Teams of the 24th 
Infantry Division, 34 

Thus, the ground force commitment 
to Luzon grew larger than General Mac- 
Arthur had contemplated in October. 
At one time or another he committed 
to Luzon 2 army headquarters, 3 corps 
headquarters, 10 divisions, and 5 regi- 
mental combat teams. 35 Armored units 
assigned to the Sixth Army aggregated 
more tanks than an armored division. 
One well-organized guerrilla unit ap- 
proximated the size and effectiveness of 
a U.S. infantry division, less supporting 
arms, while at least two others attained 
something near the strength and useful- 
ness of infantry regiments. 36 In all, in- 
cluding effective guerrilla forces, Mac- 
Arthur employed the equivalent of 
nearly fifteen divisions in the reconquest 
of Luzon. 

For operations in the Southern Philip- 
pines Campaign — the responsibility of 
the Eighth Army — U.S. Army ground 
forces remaining available after the ini- 
tial assignments to Luzon were the X 
Corps headquarters, the Americal Divi- 



34 Rad, MacArthur to Kruegcr, CX-52617, ai Nov 
44, Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, ig-25 Nov 44; 
GHQ SWPA 01 84,' 19 Dec 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 19 
Dec 44; Eighth Army FO 13, 8 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl 
File, la Jan 45. For the em ployment of the 77th 
Division, see Cannon, \Leyte. | For the assignment of 
the 19t h and 3 4 th RCT's to Luzon, see below, chs. 

I XII fr nd [XVH. I The em ployment of the 41st Division 
lTdestxibed below, chs. |xXX-XXXII.| 

35 Subsequent information on the commitment and 
deployment of major ground units available in 
SWPA is based upon G-3 GHQ SWPA, Monthly 
Summaries of Opns, Jan-Jun 45, copies in OCMH 
files. 

M Sixth Army Rpt Luzon . Ill, 3. See also below, 
chs. |XX,||XXIIIJ K XVIII. I 



sion, the 24th Division less two regi- 
mental combat teams, and the 31st and 
93d Infantry Divisions — of which the 
93d was deemed suitable only for garri- 
son duties. Ultimately, the 34th Divi- 
sion's two RCT's were reassigned to the 
Eighth Army from Luzon, as were the 
40th and 41st Divisions, the 503d Para- 
chute RCT, and various supporting 
units. Some large guerrilla units were 
also available in the southern Philip- 
pines, especially on Panay, Cebu, and 
Mindanao. 87 

The principal combat-ready Austra- 
lian units available to General Mac- 
Arthur at this time comprised an army 
headquarters, two corps headquarters, 
the equivalent of six infantry divisions, 
and an armored brigade. MacArthur 
had once planned to use a two-division 
Australian corps in the Philippines, but 
ultimately most of the Australian units 
replaced U.S. Army units in eastern New 
Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the 
Bismarck Archipelago. Australian forces 
also undertook the recapture of Borneo. 38 

While it did not equal the strength of 
U.S. Army ground forces committed in 
central Europe, the Luzon Campaign 
was by far the largest of the Pacific war. 
It entailed the use of more U.S. Army 
ground combat and service forces than 
did operations in North Africa, Italy, 
or southern France and was larger than 
the entire Allied commitment to Sicily. 89 
It far outclassed the Japanese effort of 
1941-42, which had totaled little more 
than the equivalent of four divisions. 40 



87 See below, chs XXX- XXX 1 1 



a8 See apps. A-2 and A— 3. 

M The U.S. commitment in North Africa stayed 
below 7 divisions; in Sicily, the Allies used approxi- 
mately 12 divisions; and the U.S. Army commitment 
to Italy remained below 9 divisions. 

* See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, passim. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



31 



The Sixth Army's plan for the Lin 
gayen assault called for the amphibious 
attack to be launched across the gulf's 
southern beaches, a significant decision 
in that these beaches were not the best 
along the gulf's shore. 41 The southern 
beaches have little protection from the 
weather and are backed by fish ponds, 
rice paddies, and many tidal streams of 
varied widths and depths. These obsta- 
cles severely limit maneuver in the 
immediate beach area and channel move- 
ment along a relatively few narrow cor- 
ridors of egress from the shore line to 
the Central Plains. By far the best 
beaches at Lingayen are those on the 
eastern shore, where the Japanese had 
landed in December 1941. But informa- 
tion available to General Krueger indi- 
cated that the Japanese maintained 
strong defenses along the east side of the 
gulf, taking advantage of high ground 
overlooking that shore. Insofar as could 
be ascertained from guerrilla sources, the 
southern beaches were weakly defended. 
Moreover, the southern shore boasted an 
airstrip that the Sixth Army might be 
able to rehabilitate rapidly. Finally, 
since the southern beaches were relatively 
poor, especially in regard to exits, a land- 
ing there might well achieve a con- 
siderable degree of tactical surprise. 

Taking into consideration the exit 
problem, yet desiring to get ashore 
quickly as strong a force as possible, 
Krueger decided to land on a broad 
front. Thus, he would send ashore the 
maximum number of troops the south- 



" The remainder of this subsection is based gener- 
ally upon: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 6-9; Sixth Army 
FO 34, 20 Nov 44, ibid., I, 117-39; 1 Corps FO 1, 25 
Nov 44, Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 9 Dec 44; 
XIV Corps FO l, 30 Nov 44, Sixth Army G_g Jnl 
File Luzon, 2-5 Dec 44. 



ern beaches could hold and the maxi- 
mum strength that could push inland 
without creating unmanageable bottle- 
necks along the few exits. He directed 
his two corps to land abreast, with the 
I Corps on the left, or east, and the XIV 
Corps on the right. Each corps would 
put two divisions, each less one RCT, 
ashore abreast. One RCT (or its equiva- 
lent) of each division would remain 
afloat in reserve until 10 January. 42 

The two corps' initial missions were 
identical: to seize the beachhead area 
within their respective zones; to protect 
the Sixth Army's flanks; and to maintain 
contact with each other. Both corps 
would be prepared to push rapidly in- 
land to secure a crossing over the Agno 
River, which, originating in mountains 
far northeast of the landing beaches, 
swept in a broad arc twenty to twenty- 
five miles inland across the Central Plains 
and emptied into the southwestern cor- 
ner of Lingayen Gulf. Krueger figured 
that once the Sixth Army was on the 
Agno and its flanks were secure, it would 
be ready to drive on south to secure 
Manila and Manila Bay. 

Expecting some congestion on the 
beaches, Krueger decided to hold his 
army reserve — the 25th Infantry Divi- 
sion, the 158th RCT, and the 13th Ar- 
mored Group) — afloat until 11 January. 
Since the greatest threat would probably 
develop on the army's left, Krueger di- 
rected the 158th RCT to go ashore on 
the 1 1 th along the I Corps' extreme left 
and be ready to block the coastal corri- 
dor on the gulf's eastern shore so as to 
hold back any Japanese counterattack 
from the north. Sixth Army prepared a 
number of alternative plans for the em- 



1 See app. A-3 



32 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



ployment of the 25th Division, most of 
them anticipating that the division would 
probably be committed in the I Corps' 
zone, where the 13th Armored Group 
was also to land and prepare for both 
defensive and offensive action. 

To General Krueger, the task of seiz- 
ing and securing a beachhead entailed 
gaining control of all the terrain en- 
closed within the limits of an "Army 
Beachhead Line," a semicircle with a 
radius of roughly fifteen miles from the 
center of the landing area. The factors 
determining the location of the Army 
Beachhead Line are perhaps best de- 
scribed by the Sixth Army's own report: 

Sufficient depth was essential to secure the 
landing beaches against -fire from hostile 
long range artillery. In addition to provid- 
ing space for initial air installations, disper- 
sion of supply dumps, and deployment of 
large forces, it was highly desirable that the 
Army Beachhead include the main access 
roads leading to the south across the Agno 
River as well as an adequate lateral road 
net to facilitate ready shifting of forces when 
the time came to break out of the beach- 
head. It was important that this area also 
include the road net emanating from Pozor- 
rubio and Binalonan [roughly seventeen 
miles east] to permit the concentration of 
our own armor in that area, while at the 
same time denying the area to our enemy. 
As the final consideration, the Sixth Army 
flanks [had to] be anchored on the high 
ground along the coastal defiles at Port Sual 
[to the west] and in the Rosario-Damortis 
area [to the northeast]. 43 

The Naval and Amphibious Plan 

Admiral Kinkaid's Allied Naval Forces 
was responsible for transporting the 
Sixth Army to Lingayen Gulf and estab- 
lishing it ashore. This mission included 



J) Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 8. 



the protection of the assault convoys, the 
transport and cover of reinforcement 
and resupply echelons, preparation for 
possible surface engagements with ele- 
ments of the Japanese Navy, and mine 
sweeping and preliminary bombardment 
at Lingayen Gulf before the arrival of 
the assault convoys bearing the Sixth 
Army. 44 

These tasks were beyond the capabil- 
ity of the Allied Naval Forces as con- 
stituted. 4S Kinkaid had barely enough 
amphibious means under his permanent 
control to mount a one-division assault; 
he had no battleships for preliminary 
bombardments; he had no CVE's for 
escort and ground support missions; he 
lacked destroyers and destroyer escorts 
for the proper protection of large assault 
convoys; and he had insufficient mine 
sweepers to undertake the extensive 
sweeping at Lingayen Gulf that available 
information indicated might be neces- 
sary. Adequate means would have to 
come from resources under Admiral 
Nimitz' control, and, in accordance with 
the Joint Chiefs' instructions to support 
the Luzon invasion, Nimitz furnished 
the necessary combat vessels and 
amphibious attack ships. 

Once the means were assembled, the 
naval and amphibious organization for 
Luzon followed a pattern long since es- 
tablished in the Southwest Pacific. At 
the top was Admiral Kinkaid, simulta- 



" GIIQ SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44. 
The general sources for the remainder of this 
subsection arc: Luzon Attack force Action Rpt, pp. 3, 
7—13, 18— ao, 48—51, and an. A, Organization, pp. 
1-14; Comdr III Amphib Force (Vice Adm Theo- 
dore S. Wilkinson) Lingayen Gulf Opn Rpt, pp. 

15-18; Comdr VII Amphib Force (Vice Adm 
Daniel E. Barbey) Lingayen Rpt, pp. 5-6, 36-37; 
Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 14-15; CINCPAC-CINC- 
POA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 4, 48-49. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



33 



neously the commander of the Allied 
Naval Forces, the U.S. Seventh Fleet, and 
the Luzon Attack Force. The Allied 
Naval Forces was the Seventh Fleet plus 
the few Australian and Dutch vessels 
assigned to MacArthur, while the Luzon 
Attack Force was the Allied Naval Forces 
augmented by the ships borrowed from 
Admiral Nimitz. 46 Kinkaid divided 
Luzon Attack Force into various combat 
components, over some of which he re- 
tained direct control. 47 The rest he 
assigned to two subordinate amphibious 
forces commanded by Vice Adm. Daniel 
E. Barbey and Vice Adm. Theodore S. 
Wilkinson. 

Barbey (known as "Uncle Dan, the 
Amphibious Man," in the Southwest 
Pacific Area) had long experience as the 
commander of the Seventh Fleet's VII 
Amphibious Force. For Luzon his com- 
mand was designated Task Force 78 (the 
San Fabian Attack Force) and was re- 
sponsible for putting the I Corps ashore. 
Admiral Wilkinson, whose normal com- 
mand was the III Amphibious Force of 
Halsey's Third Fleet, commanded Task 
Force 79 (the Lingayen Attack Force) 
and was responsible for putting the XIV 
Corps ashore. Each task force was fur- 
ther subdivided into amphibious task 
groups, each of which was to land one 
infantry division. 48 

The amphibious landing plan pre- 
sented few unusual features. The landing 
hour was set for 0930 on 9 January, a bit 



™ Eleven Australian vessels, including two heavy 
cruisers and two destroyers, participated in the 
Luzon invasion. At the time of the assault, the 
Netherlands contribution to the Allied Naval Forces 
was represented only by a few submarines, which 
played no direct p art, 

41 Se e |app. A-4.I 

"See app. A— 5. 



later in the day than normal, and there 
were variations in the composition and 
timing of the assault waves of each am- 
phibious group, or, perhaps better, each 
assault infantry division. Kinkaid set the 
hour for 0930 both to provide greater visi- 
bility in the landing area and to make al- 
lowances for tidal conditions. An earlier 
landing would set forces on shore in the 
face of a strong ebb tide, low tide being 
approximately 1050; a later hour might 
redound to the advantage of the Japa- 
nese. Assault waves were made up of 
LVT's (Landing Vehicles, Tracked) or 
LVT (A) 's (Landing Vehicles, Tracked, 
Armored) and the timing of succeed- 
ing waves varied from one division beach 
to another. 49 

While the amphibious command struc- 
ture was the same as that previously 
employed in the Southwest Pacific, it 
differed from that normally employed in 
the South and Central Pacific Areas. 
Control of all air, land, and sea forces 
of the Southwest Pacific was vested in 
General MacArthur. Directly under 
him, commanding the invasion until 
ground force commanders could assume 
control ashore, was Admiral Kinkaid. 
The transfer of control from naval to 
ground commanders passed from the 
bottom up. Thus, when an infantry di- 
vision commander assumed control 
ashore he passed from the control of the 
task group commander to that of the 
next higher naval echelon, the task 
force. When the corps commander went 
ashore, he passed from the control of the 
amphibious task force commander to 
that of Admiral Kinkaid. Kinkaid re- 
tained command of both naval and 



'See japp. B~| 



34 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



ground elements until Krueger went 
ashore, reporting only to MacArthur 
until Sixth Army headquarters was func- 
tioning on land. As a practical matter, 
Kinkaid issued no orders to the ground 
forces without prior consultation with 
General Krueger. 

Admiral Wilkinson, more familiar 
with another system of amphibious com- 
mand, suggested that he command the 
"joint expedition," that is, the landing 
operation proper, while Kinkaid retained 
"over-all" command not only of the am- 
phibious operation but also of all other 
Allied Naval Forces activities — those of 
submarines and detached surface groups, 
for example — not directly involved in 
the invasion. Wilkinson's proposals called 
for the creation of a separate command 
and staff, that of the "commander, joint 
expeditionary force." This system had 
worked well in the South and Central 
Pacific Areas, where carrier and battle- 
ship forces not directly associated with a 
landing had operated under the same 
fleet commander as had the amphibious 
attack forces. 80 Admiral Kinkaid saw no 
necessity for an extra headquarters dur- 
ing the Luzon invasion. Halsey's Third 
Fleet, while it was to provide general 
cover and support, was not under Kin- 
kaid's control. Therefore, Kinkaid turned 
down Wilkinson's suggestion with the 
observation that since so much of the 
Allied Naval Forces would be an inte- 
gral part of the proposed "joint expedi- 
tionary force," Kinkaid could retain 
tighter control over the amphibious op- 
eration with a single headquarters than 



10 See, inter alia, Philip A, Crowl and Edmund G. 
Love, Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls, UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 
J 955)- 



would be possible under Wilkinson's 
system. 

Operating essentially as a fast carrier 
task force under Halsey, and comprising 
the bulk of the U.S. Navy's most modern 
battleships, carriers, cruisers, and de- 
stroyers, the Third Fleet's missions in 
support of the Lingayen invasion prin- 
cipally concerned strategic air support 
operations. However, in the unlikely 
event the Japanese should assemble suf- 
ficient surface elements to precipitate a 
major fleet action, Admiral Halsey would 
reorganize his vessels for surface action. 
In this connection, it is interesting to 
note that despite the near shambles at 
Leyte Gulf in October, necessary naval 
co-ordination at the time of the Lingayen 
assault could be accomplished only by 
co-operation between MacArthur and 
Nimitz, Again no provision was made 
for unified command in case of an 
emergency. 

The Air Cover and Support Plan 

Unlike Admiral Kinkaid, General 
Kenney had sufficient resources in the 
Southwest Pacific to undertake the bulk 
of the air missions necessary for the sup- 
port of the Lingayen invasion, but he 
could not bring those resources to bear. 51 
The fact was that the Allied Air Forces 



al This subsection is based principally upon: GHQ 
SWPA OI 73. iH Oct 44; AAF SWPA OI 73, 17 Oct 
44; ANF SWPA, an. G, Air Plan, to Opn Plan No. 
17-44, bo Nov 44, Sixth Army G-g jnl File Luzon, 
1-3 Dec 44; Fifth Air Force OI 7, 26 Oct 44, G-3 
GHQ Jnl File, 31 Oct 44; Ltr of Agreement G-3 
GHQ SWPA and Plans Off Pacific Fleet (Sherman) 
for MacArthur, Nimitz, Arnold, et al., sub: Co-ordi- 
nation of Opns (Fivesomf. Agreement), Sixth Army 
G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-15 Nov 44; CINCPAC-CINe- 
POA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. g-8, 11-12, 
24-31, 48-51. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



35 



could not deploy enough land-based air- 
craft at fields within range of Luzon, the 
southern Philippines, Formosa, and other 
Japanese air base areas to furnish the 
required minimum essential support of 
various types. For this reason Mac- 
Arthur had to borrow CVE's from the 
Central Pacific, make arrangements with 
Nimitz for Third Fleet cover and sup- 
port and the help of land-based aircraft 
of the Central Pacific Area, arrange with 
the Joint Chiefs of Staffs for support by 
B-29 units in the Pacific and China, 
and co-ordinate his plans with the 
China-based Fourteenth Air Force. 

Kinkaid's CVE-based planes had varied 
missions in connection with the Lin- 
gayen assault, many of which they would 
execute in co-operation with the land- 
based planes of the Allied Air Forces. 
The CVE's would provide cover for the 
assault and reinforcement convoys, un- 
dertake air strikes at the objective area 
in conjunction with the preassault mine 
sweeping and bombardment, help the 
Allied Air Forces forestall Japanese over- 
land and overwater movements toward 
Lingayen Gulf, and provide close air 
support for ground operations ashore 
until relieved of that responsibility by 
Kenney's land-based planes. 

In turn, the Allied Air Forces' princi- 
pal missions included striking southern 
Luzon before the assault in conjunction 
with Third Fleet carrier operations to 
the north, helping the CVE's to protect 
assault convoys, augmenting CVE-based 
aircraft efforts to stop any Japanese at- 
tempts to move troops toward Lingayen 
Gulf by land or sea, bombing Japanese 
air bases and other installations in the 
southern Philippines and the Indies, 
helping guerrilla saboteurs disrupt Japa- 
nese communications on Luzon, and, 



finally, making reconnaissance and pho- 
tographic missions. 02 Within a week 
after the Lingayen assault, Kenney's 
land-based aircraft were to relieve the 
CVE-based planes of further responsibil- 
ity for the support of ground operations 
on Luzon, a mission that required the 
rapid construction of airstrips in the 
Lingayen Gulf area. 

Kenney delegated responsibility for 
the execution of the bulk of these mis- 
sions to the U.S. Fifth Air Force, com- 
manded by Maj. Gen. Ennis C. 
Whitehead. The other major compo- 
nents of the Allied Air Forces — the 
Thirteenth Air Force under Maj. Gen. 
St. Clair Streett, and the Royal Austra- 
lian Air Force Command under Air Vice 
Marshall William D. Bostock — were to 
help insofar as their deployment and 
other assignments permitted. The last 
two would be more intimately concerned 
with the reconquest of the southern 
Philippines and Borneo. 

Many of the Allied Air Forces search 
and reconnaissance missions would be 
flown by land-based aircraft of the Allied 
Naval Forces, operating under Kenney's 
control. Also under the operational con- 
trol of the Allied Air Forces were U.S. 
Marine Corps air units — then in the 
process of moving forward from the Solo- 
mon Islands and Bismarck Archipelago 
— which Kenney had placed under 
Whitehead's command. Palau-based 
bombers of the Seventh Air Force, under 
Nimitz' control, were also to hit targets 
on Luzon at times and places determined 
by Kenney. The Fourteenth Air Force 



sa In addition to the sources listed in note 51, 
information on Allied Air Forces missions is derived 
from: AAF SWPA, OI's 73/3, 21 Nov, and 73/8, 37 
Dec 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 17 Oct 44; Thirteenth Air 
Force OI 15, 8 Nov 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, ig Nov 44. 



36 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



would conduct searches over Formosa 
and the South China Sea and bomb Jap- 
anese air and port installations along the 
China coast. Land-based planes in the 
rear areas of the Pacific would continue 
to neutralize Japanese airfields on 
bypassed islands. 

There was some difficulty selecting 
profitable targets for the supporting 
B-29's of the Twentieth Air Force — the 
XX Bomber Command in China and 
India and the XXI Bomber Command 
on the Mariana Islands. MacArthur and 
Nimitz wanted the big bombers to pay 
special attention to Japanese port and 
air installations on Formosa and in the 
Ryukyus, but General Arnold, the com- 
mander of the Army Air Forces, did not 
consider airfields suitable B-29 targets. 
As it worked out, the B-29 plan called 
for strikes against aircraft depots and 
factories in Japan immediately before 
and after the Lingayen assault, together 
with attacks against port installations in 
northern Formosa. The first series was 
designed to forestall the Japanese send- 
ing any planes southward from the home 
islands and the second to prevent the 
Japanese from assembling reinforcement 
convoys at Formosa. Finally, the XX 
and XXI Bomber Commands were to 
undertake an extensive reconnaissance 
program over the western Pacific and 
Japan, the program to be accompanied 
by light, harassing bombing. 53 

The principal missions of the fast 
carrier task groups of Halsey's Third 



53 Rad, MacArthur to Arnold, CX-51561, 5 Nov 
44, CM-IN 47G9; Rad, MacArthur to Nimitz and 
Arnold, CX-52470, 19 Nov 44, CM-IN 18733; Rad, 
Nimitz to MacArthur, Halsey, and Arnold, 2255 so 
Nov 44, CM-IN 21078; Rads, Arnold to MacArthur, 
Nimitz, Wedemeyer, et ah, 17 Nov, 26 Nov, 19 Dec, 
and 22 Dec 44, CM-OUT's 64579 and 68829 Nov » 
79586 and 80998 Dec. 



Fleet were to destroy Japanese air and 
naval forces in the Ryukyus, Formosa, 
south China coast, and northern Luzon 
areas before the Lingayen assault, and to 
prevent Japanese air and naval inter- 
ference with the assault. Specifically, the 
carrier-based aircraft were scheduled to 
strike Formosa, the Ryukyus, and the 
Pescadores (between Formosa and the 
south China coast) on 3 and 4 January, 
then refuel and move to new positions 
on the 5th in order to blanket Japanese 
airfields in northern Luzon on 6 Janu- 
ary, and strike Formosa and the Ryukyus 
again on 7 and 9 January. 154 

One important, albeit tentative, 
change was proposed for this schedule 
before 9 January. 5 -" 5 Fearing that Japa- 
nese surface forces might sortie from 
bases at Singapore and in Indochina 
after the CVE's and other surface com- 
bat vessels borrowed from Nimitz had 
returned to the Central Pacific, General 
MacArthur suggested that after the Lin- 
gayen assault the Third Fleet move into 
the South China Sea to strike Japanese 
naval and air concentrations along the 
coast of the mainland. If such a move 
could not be undertaken, the Southwest 
Pacific commander pointed out, it might 
be necessary to hold the borrowed re- 
sources at Luzon longer, thus again de- 
laying Nimitz' invasions of Iwo Jima and 
Okinawa. 



"An. C to Third Fleet Opn Plan No. 24-44, 38 
Dec 44, and 2d Carrier TF (TF 38, the Third Fleet's 
fast carriers) Opn Order No. 5-44, 27 Dec 44, both 
in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-3 Jan 45. 

** The story of this change is based principally 
upon: Memo, ACofS G-3 GHQ SWPA for Mac- 
Arthur, 25 Dec 44, sub: Protection of Amphibious 
Assault . . . Movement to Lingayen Gulf, G-3 GHQ 
Jnl File, 25 Dec 44; Rad, MacArthur to Halsey, CX- 
54435, 6 Dec 44, CM-IN 7977; CINCPAC-CINCPOA 
Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 4, u-12; Halsey 
and Bryan, Admiral Halsey's Story, pp. 241-42. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



37 



The waters into which MacArthur 
suggested the Third Fleet sail had been 
unchallenged by Allied naval forces 
other than submarines since the loss of 
H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. 
Repulse to Japanese aircraft in Decem- 
ber 1941. Moreover, the South China 
Sea was ringed by Japanese fields esti- 
mated to hold well over 1,000 planes, 
the operations of which would not be as 
severely handicapped by the bad weather 
to be expected during January as would 
those of carrier-based aircraft. 

Nevertheless, Nimitz and Halsey fell 
in quite happily with the idea. Halsey 
had been anxious to press the war closer 
to the Japanese for some time, and 
Nimitz, too, felt that successful opera- 
tions in the South China Sea might well 
have grave adverse psychological effects 
on the Japanese, simultaneously boost- 
ing Chinese morale. Furthermore, the 
Japanese combat vessels known to be 
based in Indochina, together with con- 
centrations of cargo and transport ships 
along the western shores of the South 
China Sea, promised lucrative targets 
for carrier-based air attacks. Finally, the 
sortie might help mislead the Japanese 
as to the direction of the main attack. 
Accordingly, Nimitz directed Admiral 
Halsey to be ready to move the fast car- 
riers into the South China Sea after 
Southwest Pacific forces had made a 
successful assault at Lingayen Gulf. 

As was the case for naval elements, the 
invasion of Luzon involved no provi- 
sions for centralized air command, ex- 
cept in the immediate Lingayen Gulf 
area/'" Again, for forces of the South- 
west Pacific, the joint control was vested 
in General MacArthur, who by virtue of 



his position would control both CVE- 
based and land-based aircraft through 
Kinkaid and Kenney, respectively. How- 
ever, all land-based and CVE-based 
planes operating in the Lingayen Gulf 
area before the assault would be con- 
trolled by the Advance Commander 
Support Aircraft, reporting to Kinkaid 
through the naval officer in control of 
the preliminary bombardment and mine 
sweeping groups. Upon the arrival of 
the Luzon Attack Force, control over 
these planes would pass to the Com- 
mander Support Aircraft Luzon, another 
naval officer reporting directly to Kin- 
kaid, who would remain in general con- 
trol of air operations in the area until 
the Allied Air Forces took over. 37 

For the rest, the CV- based and land- 
based planes from Admiral Nimitz' 
command had to be controlled by co- 
operation between Nimitz and Mac- 
Arthur, just as MacArthur had to make 
arrangements with the Joint Chiefs for 
B-39 support and could exercise control 
over Fourteenth Air Force activities only 
by co-operation. The execution of the 
air plan, as it was finally evolved, entailed 
the efforts of nearly fifteen major air 
commands, both Army and Navy, direct- 
ing the activities of both carrier-based 
and land-based aircraft, operating in 
separate theaters and across theater 
boundaries, and reporting to higher 
headquarters through widely differing 
channels. The task facing the planners 
was difficult, to be sure, but after three 
years of experience with such a compli- 
cated air organization the planners were 
well aware of what was required and of 



"See app A— 6. 



01 An. G, Air Plan, to ANF SWPA Opn Plan No. 
17-44, ao Nov 44; Qjiiult Air Support Control Units, 
Seventh Fleet, Rpt of Support Aircraft Opns Mike I, 
20 Jan 45, G-3 Jnl File, 17 Jan 45. 



38 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



what each air echelon was capable. Thus, 
in the end, an air plan was developed 
with remarkably little fuss, considering 
the problems involved. There can, how- 
ever, be no evading the fact that the task 
of co-ordinating air, ground, and naval 
plans and operations would have been 
considerably simplified had a different 
command arrangement existed in the 
Pacific. 

The Logistical Plan 
Organization and Responsibility 

The United States Army Services of 
Supply, Southwest Pacific Area, was to 
provide the necessary supplies for the 
ground forces and most of the air eche- 
lons that General MacArthur committed 
to the Luzon operation. 58 The Allied 
Naval Forces was responsible for its own 
logistics — although in case of emergency 
it could draw upon Services of Supply 
stocks — while the Allied Air Forces 
would provide its elements with special- 
ized items of air force equipment. The 
Allied Air Forces was also responsible 
for emergency air supply operations, for 
which it would draw stocks from the 
Services of Supply. The supporting 
forces under Admiral Nimitz' control 
would draw their own supplies and 
equipment through various Army and 
Navy channels in the Central Pacific 
Area. From S-day — as MacArthur desig- 
nated the invasion target date— on, the 
Sixth Army was responsible for all other 
logistical operations on Luzon until it 

58 This and the next subsection are based generally 
upon; GHQ SWPA OI 73, 13 Oct 44; USASOS LI 
73/SOS, 4 Nov 44, and LI 73/21/SOS, 21 Jan 45, both 
in G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 4 Nov 44. Sixth Army Admin 
Order 16, 23 Nov 4.4, and amendments thereto, in 
Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 13G-39; Sixth Army Rpt 
Luzon, III, 51—58, 113. 



was relieved of those duties by the Serv- 
ices of Supply, on or about S plus 35. 
On the same date, the Services of Supply 
was to relieve the Allied Naval Forces 
of the responsibility for transporting 
men and equipment to Luzon. 

In general, the logistical program for 
the Luzon Campaign presented few un- 
usual features except an extreme decen- 
tralization of logistical responsibilities 
during the staging and assault phases, 
when the corps and, to a lesser extent, 
the divisions had abnormally heavy logis- 
tic duties. In the plan, logistical opera- 
tions ashore on Luzon would be divided 
into three phases. First, under Sixth 
Army's general direction, the corps and 
divisions were to be responsible for all 
aspects of supply and construction ex- 
cept for the duties assigned to the Allied 
Air and Naval Forces. Second, with the 
Allied Naval Forces continuing to hold 
overwater transportation responsibilities, 
an Army Service Command would re- 
lieve the corps and divisions of many 
logistical burdens. The lineal descend- 
ant of a similar organization employed 
by the Sixth Army at Leyte, the Army 
Service Command, operating under the 
control of Headquarters, Sixth Army, 
would assume logistical responsibility in 
the Lingayen Gulf area on S plus 6. At 
that time it would take over the control 
of most of the logistical support agencies 
already ashore, such as the shore parties 
built around engineer boat and shore 
regiments previously assigned to divi- 
sions. The third and final phase would 
begin on or about S plus 35, when the 
Services of Supply was to assume respon- 
sibility for all logistical operations (ex- 
cept combat supply activity) , taking 
over the control of the Army Service 
Command and its subordinate echelons. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



39 



The supply plan called for assault 
units to reach Lingayen Gul£ with suffi- 
cient supplies and equipment of all types 
to last ten days. At the same time com- 
bat echelons would bring with them 
two units of fire for all weapons. By 
S plus ia a month's supply of most items 
of equipment and five units of fire for 
combat organizations would have been 
built up in the Lingayen Gulf area. 
Within two months after the invasion, 
the Services of Supply would ship for- 
ward to Luzon a three-month supply of 
materiel for some 203,000 troops, includ- 
ing fifteen units of fire for artillery and 
mortars and ten units of fire for all other 
weapons. 50 

General Problems 

The big problem in staging and sup- 
porting the Luzon invasion was the same 
one encountered in most other opera- 
tions in every theater throughout the 
war — insufficient shipping.* 50 For Luzon, 
specifically, the lack of ships caused two 
significant shortages in the forward area. 
First, the assault units, finding it neces- 
sary to allot most of their available cargo 

89 The World War II unit of fire was the amount 
of ammunition one weapon or one organization 
would normally use in one day, and was figured in 
terms of rounds or tons per weapon or organization. 
At this writing the wartime term "unit of fire" has 
no exact equivalent in U.S. Army usage, and three 
different terms are presently employed for ammuni- 
tion requirements and expenditures. The Southwest 
Pacific's unit of fire at the time of the Lingayen Gulf 
assault included: Mi rifle, too rounds; 8i-mm. mor- 
tar, 240 rounds; 105-nnn. field artillery howitzer, 300 
rounds; 155-mra. howitzer, 150 rounds. 

80 In addition to the sources listed in note 46, gen- 
eral sources used in the preparation of this subsection 
include: Luzon Attack Force Action Rpt, pp. 16—19, 
77-79- an d an - A, Org, pp. 4-12; Sixth Army Rpt on 
Luzon Campaign, IV, 3, 7—8, 11, 18, 22; III Amphih 
Force Lingayen Gulf Rpt, End G, Logistics, pp. 1-3; 
4th ESB Rpt Luzon, pp. i-iii, 1-2. 



space to troops and general supplies, 
had to leave behind in the staging areas 
many of their assigned vehicles." 1 A gen- 
eral shortage of engineers would also 
develop during the initial stages of the 
operation, since it was impossible to send 
forward with the assault convoys all the 
required engineers and equipment. This 
shortage was overcome relatively early 
in the campaign as resupply convoys, 
often involving a return trip by ships 
of the assault echelons, brought forward 
more Engineer units and equipment. 

The shipping that reached Lingayen 
Gulf in the first two convoys — one on 
S-day and one on S plus 2 — consisted of 
three principal categories: the naval as- 
sault shipping functioning mainly as 
troop carriers but having secondary cargo- 
carrying capacities; naval assault vessels, 
whose primary function was transporting 
bulk cargo and vehicles but which also 
carried some troops; and merchant-type 
cargo ships involved mainly in resupply 
operations. Of the first group, 84 vessels 
arrived at Lingayen Gulf through S plus 
2. There were also 2ifi naval and mer- 
chant-type cargo ships. Twenty-five more 
of these types were scheduled to arrive 
on S plus 4, and an aggregate of 71 mer- 
chant ships would reach the gulf by S 
plus 60. 

In setting up a timetable for dispatch- 
ing ships to Luzon, the Sixth Army and 
the Allied Naval Forces had to plan for 
a discharge rate of about 5,000 dead- 
weight tons per day during the first 
month, and had to take into account the 
potential demands of the tactical situa- 
tion ashore as well as the availability of 



81 The 40th Division, for example, left about one- 
third of its vehicles on New Britain. Comments of 
Maj Gen Rapp Brush (Ret.) (formerly CG 40th Div), 
28 Jlec 56. 



40 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



escorts. Each headquarters, basing its 
arguments on experience at Leyte, came 
up with an entirely different time sched- 
ule for the arrival of resupply convoys, 
and the area of disagreement became so 
wide that at one time early in November 
all planning came to a near standstill. 

The principal point at issue was 
whether to schedule a convoy for S plus 
1. Krueger argued that congestion at 
Leyte had been caused by dividing ships 
of a once-scheduled A plus 1 convoy 
between A-day and A plus 2 echelons, 
but Admiral Kinkaid replied that if an 
A plus 1 convoy had been sent to Leyte 
the confusion already existing there 
would have become complete chaos, 
since much of the shipping scheduled 
to be unloaded on A-day was not dis- 
charged as planned. Moreover, Kinkaid 
pointed out, he did not have sufficient 
escort vessels to execute the Sixth Army's 
plan. The solution finally agreed upon 
called for a combined S-day and S plus 1 
convoy to reach Lingayen Gulf on S-day 
but with no effort to be made to start 
discharging the S plus 1 convoy until 
10 January. Other echelons were to 
arrive on S plus 2, S plus 4, S plus 8, 
S plus 12, and so on.™ 

Except for artillery ammunition and 
light, portable bridging equipment, the 
Services of Supply had little difficulty 
meeting supply quotas. A theaterwide 
artillery ammunition shortage prompted 
General Krueger to direct artillery com- 



sl The story of the solution of the convoy-schedul- 
ing problem is to be found in a series of radios 
among Sixth Army headquarters at Leyte, a Sixth 
Army planning group in GHQ SWPA at Hollandia, 
and ANF SWPA. These messages, most of them ex- 
changed during the first week of November, are 
located in Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 1-15 Nov 
44, or in Sixth Army Rear Echelon G-3 Jnl File 
Luzon, i_i 1 Nov 44. 



manders to control expenditures care- 
fully. He enjoined them to make accurate 
calculation of fire data and to hold un- 
observed fire to the minimum." 3 The 
shortage was gradually overcome, espe- 
cially after resupply began to arrive from 
the United States and after the cumula- 
tive effect of the program of careful 
expenditure began to make itself felt. 
The shortage of light bridging equip- 
ment was not alleviated until very late 
in the campaign. At first, a slow rate of 
discharge created a shortage of heavy 
bridging equipment inland from the 
beachhead, but as the equipment was 
unloaded the problem diminished. 

One other supply problem deserves 
special mention, that concerning civil 
administration and relief. With the Jap- 
anese taking everything they could pos- 
sibly carry with them as they moved into 
defensive positions, the civilian popula- 
tion of Luzon began to run dangerously 
low on food and medical supplies. Gov- 
ernment at the local and national levels, 
completely reorganized since 1941, was 
approaching a state of chaos. The prob- 
lem was vast, yet could not be allowed 
to interfere with tactical operations. 

To help the Sixth Army and its com- 
ponents with a civil affairs and relief 
program, MacArthur activated and 
attached thirteen Philippine Civil Affairs 
Units (PCAU's) to the various echelons 
of the command. Bearing some resem- 
blance to military government units 
being employed in Europe, many of the 
PCAU's were partially staffed by expa- 
triate Filipinos from the United States. 
Their responsibilities included super- 



1,3 Ltr, Krueger (to subordinate units), 4 Dec 44, 
sub: Sp Instructions to FA Comdrs in M— 1 Opn, 
Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 6—8 Dec 44. 



THE PLAN FOR INVASION 



41 



vising the distribution of relief supplies, 
setting price ceilings and directing the 
retailing of consumer goods, re-estab- 
lishing schools and medical facilities, 
and reconstituting local governments. 
Since the vast majority of the Luzon 
Filipinos were loyal, the PCAU's could 
expect co-operation. 

Each PCAU boarded ship with the 
maximum quantity of relief supplies it 
could squeeze into the cargo space 
allotted it. GHQ SWPA provided for a 
bulk shipment of 4,000 tons of relief 
supplies to reach Lingayen Gulf on S 
plus 18, and within another month and 
a half some 16,000 more tons would 
arrive on Luzon. Suitable captured Jap- 
anese supplies would be distributed to 
the needy, and in an emergency the 
PCAU's could call upon the Sixth Army 
or the Services of Supply to provide food 
and medical supplies. 

For the combat forces, the most press- 
ing assault logistical requirement would 
be the unloading, stockpiling, and deliv- 
ery of essential supplies and equipment. 
No provision was made for centralized 
control of these operations during the 
assault phase — such would not come 
until the Army Service Command as- 
sumed logistical responsibilities in the 
Lingayen Gulf area. Instead, the 
responsibilities were decentralized at the 
division level, the actual work to be 
undertaken by shore parties built around 
engineer boat and shore regiments at- 
tached to each division. Shore party 
operations would be supplemented by 
the activities of Navy beach parties, con- 
trol over which was even more decen- 
tralized. In general, the beach parties 
would direct unloading traffic and, in 
co-operation with the shore parties, 
select beaches for supply discharge. 



The next major logistical requirement 
involved construction. A great deal of 
road and bridge construction would be 
necessary in the beachhead area, and air- 
fields would have to be built quickly in 
the region so that the supporting CVE's 
could be released on schedule. The first 
airfield construction project was to pro- 
vide a field by S plus 6 to accommodate 
two fighter groups and a night fighter 
squadron. By S plus 15 a second field 
was to be ready, tripling or quadrupling 
the capacity of the first. The I and XIV 
Corps were responsible for beginning 
work on all construction projects; the 
Army Service Command would take over 
on S plus 6. 

Other major construction projects to 
be undertaken by the Army Service 
Command included petroleum storage 
and distribution facilities, warehouses, 
hospitals, docks and jetties, and, in gen- 
eral, all the base facilities necessary to 
the support of the 203,000 troops for 
whom supplies were to be brought for- 
ward. A Naval Service Command, oper- 
ating initially under Sixth Army control, 
would prepare a PT (Motor Torpedo) 
boat base, some naval shore installations 
including repair facilities, and a seaplane 
base. 

Evacuation of sick and wounded from 
the front lines to the beachhead was at 
first the responsibility of the two corps. 
The Allied Naval Forces, during the 
early phases of the operation, would 
send casualties to rear areas on assault 
shipping, and the Allied Air Forces 
would undertake air evacuation as air- 
fields became available. Until adequate 
fixed hospitalization could be established 
on Luzon, most casualties would be 
moved to hospitals run by the Services 
of Supply on Leyte. 



42 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Thus, the logistical plan called for 
extreme decentralization of operational 
responsibilities during the assault phase, 
decentralization that would be followed 



by an orderly passage of responsibility 
to centralized direction first under the 
Army Service Command and then under 
the Services of Supply. 



CHAPTER III 



Preliminary Operations and the Approach 



A irfields on M indoro 

Getting to the Objective 

The first step of the Luzon Campaign 
involved the seizure and development 
of air base sites in southwestern Mindoro 
in order to provide land-based air cover 
for convoys moving toward Lingayen 
Gulf and to permit the Allied Air Forces 
to broaden the base of its attack against 
Japanese air power on Luzon. Mindoro 
is none too pleasant a place. An ovoid 
about half the size of New Jersey, the 
island is very mountainous though it has 
some coastal plains along the east, north- 
east, and southwest shores. Throughout 
much of Mindoro rain is a daily occur- 
rence even in the "dry" season. Humid- 
ity is high, the climate enervating, and 
malaria and other tropical diseases prev- 
alent. Third-ranking in size among the 
Philippines, Mindoro is for the most 
part undeveloped and has fewer natural 
resources and less favorable terrain than 
many of the other islands. 

The best airfield sites, MacArthur's 
planners knew, were located in the 
northeast, but that section of the island 
has poor flying weather and was dan- 
gerously close to Japanese air concentra- 
tions on Luzon. Therefore, the planners 
elected to secure a beachhead and air- 
field sites near San Jo se, in the southwest 
corner. | {Map 2) Mangarin Bay, 



Mindoro's best anchorage, lay nearby. 1 
The Allies accurately estimated that 
the Japanese garrison on Mindoro num- 
bered some 1,000 troops. The men were 
under the control of the Japanese 8th 
Division on Luzon, but the combat 
troops — two provisional infantry com- 
panies — came from the 105th Division, 
likewise on Luzon. Also present were 
about 200 survivors of ships sunk off 
Mindoro on the way to Lcytc, some 
Japanese Army Air Force engineers, 
ground crews of a couple of Japanese 
Naval Air Service units, and a handful 
of other service troops. The 8th Divi- 
sion organized a Marauding Unit of 110 
troops and sent it from Luzon to north- 
ern Mindoro shortly after 15 December, 
or U-day as the Mindoro target date was 
known. The reinforcements did nothing 
to put the Japanese on Mindoro in posi- 
tion to defend the island against the 
force MacArthur had sent. 2 

MacArthur assigned responsibility for 
the operation to General Krueger's Sixth 
Army, supported by the Allied Air and 
Naval Forces. Krueger, in turn, dele- 
gated the job to an especially created 
headquarters designated the Western 



1 GHQ SWPA OI 74, 13 Oct 44, G-3 CHQ SWPA 
Jnl File, 13 Oct 44, 

1 Sixth Army FO 33, 20 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 
Jul File Mindoro, 21—30 Nov 44; Japanese Studies in 
World War II, No. 12, Operations on Mindoro, 
passim; WVTF Hist Red, 15 Dec 44-31 Jan 45, an, 2, 
Intel Rpt, pp. 7-t), 12. 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



45 



Visayan Task Force, and placed this unit 
under Brig. Gen. William C. Dunckel. 
The principal combat components of 
the force were the 19th Regimental 
Combat Team of the 24th Division and 
the separate 503d Parachute RCT. 
Scheduled to jump at Mindoro, the 503d 
was reassigned to the task of making an 
amphibious landing abreast of the 19th 
RCT when planners found that not 
enough space was available on Leyte to 
accommodate the troop-carrying aircraft 
necessary to lift the parachutists. 

Other combat components of the 
Western Visayan Task Force included 
the 3d Battalion of the 21st Infantry of 
the 24th Division, which was to execute 
feinting operations against southern Lu- 
zon from Mindoro; an antiaircraft artil- 
lery group; and an engineer boat and 
shore regiment. Since rapid construc- 
tion of airfields was a primary mission, 
the task force included a large propor- 
tion of airfield engineers — ■ four U.S. 
Army battalions and a Royal Australian 
Air Force works squadron — and other 
service troops. To help unload assault 
shipping at Mindoro, Krueger detailed 
1,200 men from various X and XXIV 
Corps units on Leyte as stevedores. 
These men were to return to Leyte once 
their task was finished. 3 

Air support plans were similar to 
those for Luzon, albeit on a smaller scale, 
and included operations by Allied Naval 
Forces CVE's, the Allied Air Forces, the 
Seventh Air Force, Halsey's Third Fleet, 
and the B-29's. Land-based planes of 
the Fifth and Seventh Air Forces would 



3 Sixth Army FO 33, 20 Nov 44; Sixth Army Rpt 
Mindoro, pp. 8-14; Sixth Army Admin Order 15, 23 
Nov 44, Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Mindoro, 21-30 
Nov 44. Most of the stevedoring troops came from 
the 306th Infantry, 77th D ivision, -which had just 
reached Leyte. See Cannon, Leyte, p. 277. 



neutralize Japanese fields from Manila 
south on Luzon; the Third Fleet's planes 
would cover the fields north of Manila. 
To accomplish its share in this program, 
the Third Fleet planned two series of 
strikes on Luzon, one from U minus 1 
through U plus 1 and the other from 
U plus 4 through U plus 6. 4 

Admiral Kinkaid delegated command 
of the amphibious phase of the operation 
to Rear Adm. Arthur D. Struble, the 
commander of Task Group 78. the 
Mindoro Attack Group. Cruisers and 
destroyers of Task Group 77.3 (the Min- 
doro Close Covering Group) together 
with CVE's, old battleships, cruisers, and 
destroyers of Task Group 77.12 (the 
Mindoro Heavy Covering and Carrier 
Group) would be in support. 5 

The supply plan was similar to that 
for the Lingayen invasion. The total 
force to be supplied at Mindoro included 
12,000 ground combat troops, almost 
6,000 ground service units, and approxi- 
mately 9,500 Allied Air Forces troops. 
Aircraft would at first operate under 
control of the Fifth Air Force's 310th 
Bombardment Wing headquarters" and 
planes were to be flying from Mindoro 
by U plus 5, when a strip was to be ready 
to accommodate one fighter group. 
Before the assault at Lingayen Gulf, 
engineers would expand the Mindoro 

4 AAF SWPA OI 74, 30 Oct 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 
7 Nov 44; Halsey and Bryan, Halsey's Story, pp. 235- 
41; Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 18-20; Rads, 
Arnold to MacArthur and Nimitz, 36 Nov and 13 
Dec 44, CM-ODT's 68838 and 76699; ad Carrier TF 
Opn Order No. 4-44, 7 Dec 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl 
File Luzon, 17-23 Dec 44. 

* TG 78.3 Mindoro Rpt, pp. 1-5; TG 77.3 Mindoro 
Rpt, p. 1. 

* Not desiring to move its own headquarters for- 
ward nor to set up a special headquarters, the Fifth 
Air Force used the bombardment wing headquarters 
to control all air activities at Mindoro during the 
early phases of the operation. 



46 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



facilities to accommodate another fighter 
group, a light bomber group, a tactical 
reconnaissance squadron, and two com- 
mando fighter squadrons. Allied Naval 
Forces PT boats were to begin operations 
from Mindoro on U plus i. 7 

The Western Visayan Task Force 
staged on the east coast of Leyte and 
departed Leyte Gulf on 12 December 
ab oard the ships o f Task Group 78. 3. s 
\(See map, p. 2o7)\ During the night of 
13-13 December the convoys transited 
Surigao Strait, between Leyte and Min- 
danao, and headed westward into the 
Mindanao Sea, Task Group 77.12 — the 
escort carriers — moving to the van. Ad- 
miral Halsey's Third Fleet carriers had 
left Ulithi, in the western Carolines, on 
the 11th and had started hitting targets 
in northern Luzon on the morning of 
the 14th. 



' Sixth Army Admin Order 15, 23 Nov 44; USASOS 
LI 74/SOS, 1 Nov 44, G-s GHQ jnl File, 4 Nov 44: 
Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp, 13—16. 

* The rest of this subsection is based primarily on: 
Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 13, 18-21 ; TG 78.3 Rpt 
Mindoro, pp. 5ft.; TG 77.12 Rpt Mindoro, passim; 
Japanese Studies in WW It, No. 101, Battle of Win- 
dow), pp. 1-9; Halscy and Bryan, Halsey's Story, pp. 
2 35— 37; Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Gate, 
eds., "The Army Air Forces in World War II," vol. 
V, The Pacific: MATTERHORN to Nagasaki, June 

1944 to August 1945 (Chicago: The University of 
Chicago Press, 1953) (hereinafter cited as Craven and 
Cate, AAF V), pp. 396-97. Additional information 
on kamikaze operations in this subsection and in the 
rest of this chapter is derived from: Samuel Eliot 
Morison, "History of United States Naval Operations 
in World War II," vol. XII X, The Liberation of the 
Philippines: Luzon, Mindanao, the Visayas: 1944- 

1 945 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, j 959) 
(hereinafter cited as Morison, The Liberation), pp. 
33-26, 29-31, 33-36, 43-48, 98-119, 125-36, i0g, 
138-140. Originally, it was anticipated that Triumph 
would be published before The Liberation. As 
events turned out, The Liberation was in print first, 
permitting the present author to take advantage at 
the last moment of deeper research into U.S. Navy 
materials and Japanese sources than he could or 
needed to undertake for Triumph. 



Struble's forces steamed on through 
the Mindanao Sea unmolested until the 
afternoon of 13 December. Japanese 
Army and Navy planes had had the three 
groups under surveillance since 0900, 
but had not attacked pending receipt of 
information on the force's destination. 
In midafternoon ten Japanese Navy 
planes, including three designated as 
suicide bombers — the dread kamikazes 
— flew up from a field on Cebu and 
found the Allied force off the 
southeastern corner of Negros Island. 

Unobserved by lookouts and unde- 
tected by radar, which nearby land 
masses blanketed, one kamikaze flew in 
low over the water and crashed with a 
mighty roar on the light cruiser Nash- 
ville, Admiral Struble's flagship. Com- 
bined explosions from the plane's bomb 
and ship's ammunition wrecked the flag 
bridge, the communications office, and 
the combat information center. Over 
1 30 men were killed outright, including 
General Dunckel's chief of staff, the 
3 10th Bombardment Wing's commander, 
Admiral Struble's chief of staff, and Task 
Group 78.3's communications and medi- 
cal officers. The wounded, numbering 
about 190, included Dunckel, who was 
painfully but not seriously injured and 
burned. 

Struble and Dunckel quickly trans- 
ferred to the destroyer Dashiell, which 
also took aboard some of the members 
of both officers' staffs. The rest of the 
staffs and the wounded sailed back to 
Leyte on the Nashville, protected by the 
destroyer Stanley. Later in the afternoon 
another kamikaze so damaged the de- 
stroyer Haraden that it, too, had to re- 
turn to Leyte. Casualties aboard the 
Haraden were approximately 15 killed 
and 25 wounded. 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



47 



The Japanese, having decided that 
Panay, Cebu, or Negros would be the 
target of the Allied invasion force, had 
ambitious plans for renewing air attacks 
on the 14th, but few materialized. The 
Japanese wasted too much time looking 
for the convoy off Panay and Negros, 
and were diverted by Allied Naval 
Forces movements off the west coast of 
Leyte, movements that concerned resup- 
ply of Sixth Army units on Leyte. Mean- 
while, Halsey's Third Fleet planes kept 
the Japanese air garrison on Luzon occu- 
pied, and during the day Struble's CVE- 
based planes knocked down about thirty 
Japanese aircraft before they could close 
with the Mindoro-bound force. 

On the morning of the 15th, as the 
Allied groups started moving in to the 
Mindoro beaches, 25 Japanese planes 
from the Clark Field center on Luzon 
and 12 to 15 from the Davao area of 
southeastern Mindanao attempted to re- 
sume the attack. Struck by Third Fleet 
aircraft even before they got off the 
ground, many of the Luzon-based planes 
never reached the Mindoro area. Allied 
Air Forces P-38's (which arrived over 
Mindoro from Leyte about 0800 to as- 
sume the air cover duties of the CVE's) , 
and CVE based planes still operating at 
Mindoro shot down eight of fifteen kami- 
kazes that attacked shipping off the 
island on the 15th. Nonetheless, Japa- 
nese air operations during the day met 
with some success. Kamikazes so dam- 
aged two LST's (Landing Ships, Tank) 
that the Allied Naval Forces later had 
to sink them. Ammunition exploding 
aboard the LST's damaged the destroyer 
Moale as it tried to rescue survivors and 
fight fires. An LSM (Landing Ship, 
Medium) , the destroyer Howerth, and 
the CVE Marcus Island received lesser 



damage from kamikazes, but continued 
operations. 9 Casualties totaled 7 killed 
and about 20 wounded. 

In accordance with plans, the CVE's 
had started to withdraw upon the arrival 
of Allied Air Forces land-based planes, 
but in midafternoon word came that 
weather conditions over eastern Leyte 
would prevent land-based aircraft from 
providing air cover the rest of the day. 
Task Group 77.12 thereupon slowed its 
speed and, late in the afternoon, returned 
to a support position off Mindoro in 
order to provide air cover on U plus 1. 

Meanwhile, the 19th and 503d RCT's 
landed, and, despite a few harassing raids 
by Japanese aircraft, unloading pro- 
ceeded far ahead of schedule. Admiral 
Struble was able to depart with the bulk 
of the ships of Task Group 78.3 at 1900, 
leaving Rear Adm. Russell S. Berkey of 
Task Group 77.3 in charge off Mindoro. 

The next morning, 16 December, a 
slow tow convoy of small tankers, barges, 
and LCT's (Landing Craft, Tank) , with 
accompanying destroyers, hove to off 
Mindoro, having suffered the loss of one 
small Army tanker sunk and a destroyer 
damaged by kamikazes on the way. 10 
Berkey's force left about 0700, and the 
CVE's resumed their withdrawal about 
1100, when Allied Air Forces planes 
showed up from Leyte. Poor weather 
conditions again forced an early retire- 
ment of land-based aircraft, and CVE 
planes had to maintain some cover over 
Mindoro all day. The three echelons of 
Admiral Struble's force finally got back 

* Morison, The Liberation, page ig, states that the 
destroyer damaged was the Ralph Talbot. In describ- 
ing the day's attacks, pages 29-31, he does not 
mention the damage to the LSM. 

" Morison, in The Liberation, page 31, does not 
mention damage to the destroyer, and implies that 
the Army tanker was only damaged. 



48 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



to Leyte on the 17th with no further 
damage. 

To the north, Halsey's planes had 
again struck Luzon on 16 December, 
and the carriers had started retiring east- 
ward to refuel in preparation for the 
second series of attacks beginning on the 
igth. Late on the morning of the 17th 
a vicious typhoon began lashing the 
Third Fleet and did not blow itself out 
until evening of the 18th. Continued 
bad weather forced Admiral Halsey to 
cancel the strikes scheduled for 19-21 
December, and on the 21st the fleet 
retired to TJlithi to repair storm damage 
and start preparations for its operations 
in support of the Lingayen Gulf landings. 

Through the 16th, Japanese air attacks 
had cost forces of the Southwest Pacific 
Area 2 LST's and 1 small Army tanker 
sunk; 1 light cruiser and 1 destroyer 
severely damaged; and 1 CVE, 3 destroy- 
ers, and 1 LSM slightly damaged. The 
Japanese had also inflicted almost 390 
casualties — about 155 men killed and 
235 wounded — the majority of them 
Allied Naval Forces personnel. The 
CVE's had lost 9 planes and Halsey's 
carriers had lost 27 to the Japanese. The 
typhoon through which the Third Fleet 
had sailed resulted in the loss of about 
790 men. It also sank 3 destroyers, 
wrecked 200 planes, and damaged 28 
ships, 9 so severely that they were out 
of action for weeks. 

On the other hand, according to the 
claims of the Allied Air Forces, the Allied 
Naval Forces, and the Third Fleet, about 
450 Japanese planes had been destroyed 
in the air or on the ground in the Phil- 
ippines since the 1st of December. The 
Third Fleet claimed about 270 Japanese 
aircraft, Struble's CVE's got another 70, 
Allied Air Forces planes at least 80, ship- 



based and shore-based antiaircraft weap- 
ons 15, and approximately 15 more were 
destroyed during kamikaze attacks. Jap- 
anese air power in the Philippines had 
been literally decimated, and reinforce- 
ments had to be flown in from the home 
islands and Formosa. Finally, Admiral 
Halsey's planes had sunk 33 Japanese 
ships of various sizes and types in Luzon 
waters, while the Allied Naval Forces 
had destroyed a small freighter off 
Mindoro. 

For the Allied Naval Forces, the Third 
Fleet, and the Japanese, the invasion of 
Mindoro had indeed been costly. Ashore 
on that island the story was far different. 
The landing was unopposed and through 
16 December the Western Visayan Task 
Force suffered no casualties in ground 
operations. 

The Air Build-up at Mindoro 

The 19th and 503d RCT's began land- 
ing at 0730 on 15 December and by late 
afternoon had outposted a final beach- 
head line lying seven miles inland. 
Troops secured the San Jose airstrip, a 
prewar emergency landing field roughly 
five miles inland, against no opposition. 11 
Beach conditions were almost ideal, and 
an observer from the 2d Engineer Spe- 
cial Brigade, watching the unloading, 
was prompted to report that the "opera- 
tion was really just a maneuver" for 
shore party units. 12 

Since expansion of the San Jose strip 
was not feasible, engineers quickly began 
surveys for a better site and soon found 



a WVTF Hist Red, Opns Rpt, pp. 1-2; Sixth Army 
Rpt Mindoro, pp. 16-18; 19th Inf Rpt Mindoro, p. 1, 

15 Ltr, Asst ACofS S-2 sd ESB to CG ad ESB, 19 Dec 
44, Sub; Obsns of Landing on Mindoro Island, Sixth 
Army G— 3 Jn] File Mindoro, 21 Dec 44-1 Jan 45. 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



49 



one about three miles south of the field. 
By midafternoon the 1874th Engineer 
Aviation Battalion and No. 3 Airdrome 
Construction Squadron (RAAF) had be- 
gun work on the new site, ultimately 
called Hill Drome. The field was ready 
as scheduled on 20 December, on which 
day Fifth Air Force P-38's and P-61 
night fighters began arriving; P-47's 
reached the field from Leyte three days 
later. Meanwhile, engineers began work 
on another strip called Ellmore Field, 
about two miles northwest of Hill 
Drome. This second field was ready for 
limited use on 23 December and for 
continuous dry-weather operations on 
the 28th, a week ahead of schedule. 13 

The first runway was barely opera- 
tional in time to be of use in helping 
to turn back new Japanese counter- 
attacks. 14 On or about 20 December the 
Japanese Naval Air Service in the Phil- 
ippines, which had executed the bulk 
of the attacks against Mindoro so far, 
was reinforced by some fifty planes flown 
in from Formosa, bringing its opera- 
tional strength to about seventy-five 
planes at bases within easy range of 
Mindoro. With this force — augmented 
by a few Japanese Army Air Force planes 

14 Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 17-20; Craven and 
Cate, AAF V, pp. 397-98. 

" The story of Japanese air and naval counter- 
attacks is based primarily on: Sixth Army Rpt 
Mindoro, pp. 31-23; WVTF Hist Red, an. s, Intel 
Rpt, passim; TG 78.3 Rpt Mindoro, passim; 
Craven and Gate, AAF V, pp. 398-^.01; Japa- 
nese Studies in WW II, No. 101, Battle of Mindoro, 
pp. 8—13; No. 5, 4th Air Army Operations, 1944- 
1945, pp. 61-65, 73-741 The Joint Army-Navy Assess- 
ment Committee (JANAC), Japanese Naval and 
Merchant Shipping Losses During World War II By 
All Causes (Washington: Navy Department, 1947) 
(hereinafter cited as JANAC Japanese Shipping 
Losses), pp. zo, 78; an exchange of radio msgs dated 
27 and 28 Dec 44 among Sixth Army, WVTF, Fifth 
Air Force, and Seventh Fleet, all to be found in Sixth 
Army G-3 Jnl File Mindoro, ai Dec 44—1 Jan 45. 



— the Japanese renewed air attacks on 
21 December, 15 the day before ships of 
an Allied resupply convoy were sched- 
uled to reach Mindoro. About twenty 
kamikazes attacked the convoy, so dam- 
aging two LST's that they later had to 
be abandoned, and inflicting lesser dam- 
age on two destroyers and a Liberty 
ship. 16 The 3d Battalion, 21st Infantry, 
en route to Mindoro in this convoy lost 
6 men killed and 32 wounded; U.S. 
Navy losses were about 70 men killed 
or wounded; the Japanese lost 7 planes 
in kamikaze attacks and 3 others to 
shipboard antiaircraft fire. 

In the meantime the Japanese South- 
western Area Fleet, with headquarters 
at Manila, had organized a small surface 
striking force of two cruisers and six 
destroyers and had ordered it to Min- 
doro to bombard the Allied beachhead 
and sink whatever Allied shipping it 
could find unprotected in the area. 17 
The Japanese had no intention of mak- 
ing a major action out of this raid; the 
best they could hope for was to delay 
for a little Allied development of the 
Mindoro air base. 

The striking force sortied from Cam- 
ranh Bay, Indochina, about 1300 on 24 
December and was discovered early the 
next day by Allied submarines operating 
in the South China Sea. Forewarned 

"There were some isolated attacks between the 
15th and 21st. On the 18th, for instance, a kamikaze 
destroyed one PT, and in a conventional bombing 
run a Japanese plane lightly damaged another PT. 
Morison, The Liberation, p, 34, 

'•Morison, The Liberation, page 35, accounts for 
only one destroyer damaged in this action. 

17 The carrier Unryu was apparently scheduled to 
participate, but was sunk off Formosa on 19 Decem- 
ber by a U.S. Navy submarine. Two more Japanese 
cruisers were orignally assigned to the action but 
were left behind as being too slow. Additional infor- 
mation on the Japanese naval action comes from 
Morison, The Liberation, pages 37-43- 



50 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Landing Unopposed on White Beach, Mindoro 



by the submarines, Allied Naval Forces 
reconnaissance seaplanes began tracking 
the Japanese force, and about 1930 on 
the 26th reported that the vessels were 
within easy range of the Allied Air 
Forces' base at Mindoro. In preparation 
for the impending action, General 
Kenney had hurriedly reinforced the 
Mindoro air garrison, and 105 planes 
were ready to fly against the Japanese 
naval force — 13 B-25's, 44 P-38's, 28 
P-47's, and 20 P-40's. 

Except for a few P-61's, which were 
searching for Japanese aircraft, none of 
the Mindoro-based planes was equipped 
for night operations. They therefore 
had to use running and landing lights 
to guide each other and to locate the 
Japanese ships sailing on toward Min- 
doro under cover of bad weather. De- 
spite air opposition, about 2300 on the 



26th the Japanese fleet units began to 
bombard the beachhead and airfield 
areas, where they caused little damage. 
After some forty minutes of such shell- 
ing, the Japanese vessels withdrew north- 
westward at high speed, still under 
attack by Allied Air Forces planes. 

Offshore, the Japanese had sunk a 
Liberty ship and an Allied Naval Forces 
PT boat. 18 The Allied Air Forces had 
lost 26 planes: 3 B-25's, 7 P-38's, to 
P-47's, and 6 P-40's. Many of these air- 
craft were not lost to Japanese action but 
crashed as they tried to find some place to 
land. The bombardment prevented land- 
ings at the Mindoro strips and many 
pilots, finding their planes running low 



19 Morison, The Liberation, pages 40-^41, stales 
that the PT's damage came from bombing by a U.S. 
Army plane, and that Army aircraft also added to 
the damage inflicted upon the Liberty ship. 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



51 



on fuel, headed through the darkness and 
heavy weather toward Leyte fields only 
to crash on the way. The Allied Air 
Forces— at first making somewhat larger 
claims 19 — had helped to sink one de- 
stroyer to which an Allied Naval Forces 
PT boat gave the coup de grace. The 
Mindoro-based planes also severely dam- 
aged the weather decks and guns of the 
two cruisers and had not permitted any 
of the other Japanese ships to escape 
unscathed. 

On 28 December Japanese aircraft 
resumed kamikaze and conventional at- 
tacks against Allied shipping at Mindoro 
and against shipping on the way to and 
from that island. From that date through 
the 4th of January 1945, the planes suc- 
ceeded in sinking 3 Liberty ships, 
including one carrying air force ammuni- 
tion; a tanker carrying aviation gasoline; 
two LST's, a destroyer, and two LCM's. 
Three other Liberty ships were so badly 
damaged that they had to be run aground 
to prevent sinking. For a time the loss 
of caTgo of the Libertys and the tanker 
inhibited airfield construction and air 
operations at Mindoro. In addition to 
these sinkings or beachings, the Japanese 
also inflicted severe damage upon a Lib- 
erty ship, a destroyer, a PT tender, and 
two PT boats, while another destroyer, an 
LCI, a mine sweeper, and an oiler suffered 
lighter damage as direct or indirect re- 
sults of kamikaze operations. Attacking 
the Mindoro airfields during the night 
of 2-3 January, Japanese planes destroyed 
15 P-38's and 7 A-20's. During the per- 
iod 28 December through 4 January, the 
Japanese lost some 50 aircraft in the 
Mindoro area. Thereafter, Japanese air 

19 The Fifth Air Force originally claimed to have 
sunk or set afire at least four Japanese troop 
transports. 



strikes in the region virtually ceased; the 
Japanese were occupied with Allied 
convoys moving toward Luzon. 

Ashore at Mindoro the Western Vi- 
sayan Task Force, beginning on 19 De- 
cember, instituted a series of patrol 
actions along the southern, western, and 
northwestern shores of Mindoro to hunt 
down Japanese stragglers, secure areas 
where the Japanese might land reinforce- 
ments from Luzon, and set up and pro- 
tect radar stations and ground force 
observation posts, some of which were 
established on small offshore islands. 20 
Mindoro guerrillas guided and gave sup- 
port to most of the Allied patrols and 
also played a large part in various mop- 
ping-up operations all over the island. 
While the 19th and 503d RCT's were 
thus spreading out, the rest of the 21st 
Infantry reached Mindoro to reinforce 
the beachhead. General Krueger, fearing 
possible Japanese reinforcement moves 
from Luzon, had dispatched the 21st to 
Mindoro just after the Japanese naval 
raid. 

On 1 January control of the Western 
Visayan Task Force passed from the 
Sixth Army to Eichelberger's Eighth 
Army, which continued to mop up and 
patrol. By the end of January Western 
Visayan Task Force ground operations 
associated with the seizure and securing 
of the air base had cost 16 men killed, 
71 wounded, and 4 missing, exclusive of 
the casualties resulting from Japanese air 
attacks. Total casualties for the Allied 
land, sea, and air forces of the Southwest 

18 The remaining material on Mindoro ground 
operations is based principally on: WVTF Hist Red, 
Opns Rpt, pp. 2-7; ibid., Intel Rpt, pp. 4-9; 19th 
Inf Rpt Mindoro, pp. i-2; 503d Prcht Inf S-3 Per 
Rpts Mindoro. The casualty figures arc derived from 
a Study of all pertinent sources, which provide 
contradictory and irreconciliable figures. 



52 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Pacific directly concerned with establish- 
ment of the southwestern Mindoro air 
base, including those from kamikaze 
operations, numbered about 475 men 
killed and 385 wounded. On Mindoro, 
the Japanese lost about 170 men killed 
and 15 taken prisoner. Japanese casual- 
ties in the air and naval counterattack 
operations are unknown. 

Work continued apace at the Mindoro 
airfields throughout the period of the 
Japanese raids, and the facilities were 
greatly expanded. 21 General MacArthur 
decided to add more medium bombers 
and fighters to the Mindoro air garrison 
for better support of operations on 
Luzon, and temporarily canceled plans 
to establish a base for troop carrier and 
cargo planes on Mindoro. At the same 
time, he directed the Allied Air Forces to 
construct heavy bomber fields on Min- 
doro from which to launch strikes 
against the southern Philippines, For- 
mosa, and the northern Indies. Work 
began on the first of two bomber fields 
on 2 January, but neither was ready in 
time to provide support for the move to 
Luzon. 

Nevertheless, a sizable air garrison ex- 
isted on Mindoro by g January. Major 
Allied Air Forces units included 3 fighter 
groups, 2 medium bomber groups, 2 
night fighter squadrons, 3 tactical recon- 
naissance squadrons, a photographic 
squadron, and an air-sea rescue squad- 
ron. While none of the units was up to 
strength in either planes or pilots, the 
total was stronger than the minimum 

51 The remainder of this subsection is based upon: 
Rad, MacArthur to Krueger and Kenney, CX-55211, 
21 Dec 44, Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Mindoro, ai Dec 
44-1 Jan 45; GHQ SWPA OI .74/15, 1 Jan 45. G-3 
GHQ Jnl File, 13 Oct 44; Sixth Army Mindoro Rpt, 
pp. 21-23; WVTF Hist Red, an. 5, Engr Rpt, passim; 
Craven and Cate, AAF V, p. 401, 



General Kenney had deemed necessary 
for proper support of the Lingayen 
invasion. 

Insofar as the invasion of Luzon was 
concerned, the principal value of the 
Mindoro operation was the establish- 
ment of the air bases. In addition, the 
island was used to good purpose to stage 
diversionary activities designed to focus 
Japanese attention on southern Luzon. 
Later in the campaign for the recapture 
of the Philippines, Mindoro became a 
staging base from which to mount many 
operations against smaller islands to the 
north, northeast, and east in order to 
make the water passages through the 
central Visayan Islands safe for small 
ships moving to Luzon. Larger opera- 
tions for the recapture of major islands 
during the Southern Philippines Cam- 
paign were also staged from Mindoro, 

By the time the Sixth Army was ashore 
on Luzon, it had become obvious that, 
whatever the cost, the establishment of 
an air base at southwestern Mindoro had 
been well worth the effort. The value of 
the fields was proved time and time again 
as Mindoro-based planes interdicted Jap- 
anese communications on Luzon, struck 
Japanese shipping in Philippine waters, 
provided cover for convoys moving to 
Luzon, and flew direct support missions 
for ground forces on the latter island. 
The support value of the base would be 
enhanced during operations in the 
Southern Philippines Campaign and, 
once the heavy bomber strips were ready, 
by many indirect strategic support 
missions. 

It seems safe to assume that without 
the Mindoro airfields, MacArthur would 
not have been able to move to Luzon 
when he did. Certainly, without those 
fields his forces would have found the 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



53 



invasion of Luzon, and postassault oper- 
ations as well, considerably more 
hazardous and difficult. 

Diversionary Activities 

The Southwest Pacific's diversionary 
operations were divided into three 
phases. First, Dunckel's Western Vi- 
sayan Task Force would seize northeast- 
ern Mindoro and Marinduque Island, 
thirty miles to the east, in an attempt to 
make the Japanese believe that the two 
areas would be developed as staging bases 
for an invasion of southern Luzon. 
Second, a series of minor naval demon- 
strations, simulated landings, dummy 
parachute drops, and radio and radar 
deception measures would be executed 
at various points along the south coast 
of Luzon, Third, south Luzon guerrillas 
would co-operate with the Allied Air 
Forces and the Palau-based Seventh Air 
Force in destroying railroads, bridges, 
highways, wire communications, and Jap- 
anese supply installations throughout 
southern Luzon. 22 The Allies also car- 
ried out a Pacific-wide deception pro- 
gram to make the Japanese believe that 
the Formosa-Amoy area, rather than 
Luzon, would be the next major Allied 
target after Leyte. 23 

The Western Visayan Task Force's 
share in the program got under way on 
1 January when the 21st Infantry, from 
its base in southwestern Mindoro, began 
clearing out northeastern Mindoro, a 



» GHQ SWPA OI 80, 20 Nov 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl 
File, so Nov 44. 

"Rad, MacArthur to JCS and Nimitz, CX-sSiSg, 
16 Nov 44, CM-IN 15326; Rad, MacArthur to JCS 
and Nimitz, CX-52782, 23 Nov 44, CM-IN 22748; 
Rad, Nimitz to MacArthur and JCS, 19 Nov 44, CM- 
IN 51934; Rad, JCS to MacArthur and Nimitz, 30 
Nov 44, CM-OUT 70546. 



job that the regiment did not complete 
until almost the end of the month. By 
that time the Japanese on the island 
were no longer a threat. Some 135 Japa- 
nese were killed in northeastern Min- 
doro — at least 50 of them by guerrillas 
under General Dunckel's control — and 
the rest of the garrison of some 300 
Japanese originally stationed in the area 
fled to the mountainous interior. The 
21st Infantry lost but 1 man killed and 
7 wounded. A company of the 21st 
Infantry secured Marinduque Island 
during the week ending 1 1 January, 
guerrillas having previously cleaned out 
all but one small pocket of Japanese on 
the island. 24 

Little information is available con- 
cerning guerrilla sabotage operations in 
southern Luzon, and it is impossible to 
allocate credit for destruction as between 
the guerrillas and the air commands. 
Suffice it to say that since there was con- 
siderable difficulty getting demolition 
supplies into guerrilla hands, the sabo- 
tage was probably not as extensive as 
hoped. Very few of the minor naval and 
aerial demonstrations were executed be- 
fore the Lingayen invasion because the 
necessary planes and small naval vessels 
could not be diverted to the task in the 
face of the Japanese aerial counterat- 
tacks at Mindoro and Luzon. 25 In brief, 

M WVTF Hist Red, Opns Rpt, pp. 2-4; ibid., Intel 
Rpt, pp. 7-9; Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 12, 
Opns on Mindoro, pp. 7-9; WVTF G-3 Opns Rpts 
Mindoro- 

!S Miscellaneous memos and msgs in WVTF Guer- 
rilla Jnl File and WVTF PDQ Guerrilla Net File; 
Rad, TG 77.11 (Diversionary Attack Gp) to ANF 
SWPA et al., 4 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File 
Luzon, 3-4 Jan 45; Rad, MacArthur to Kinkaid, TG 
77.11, et al, 7 Jan 45, WVTF G-2 Msg File; Rad, 
Kinkaid to MacArthur, 0644 5 Jan 45; Rad, Kenney 
to Whitehead and TG 77.11, AX--30585, 8 Jan 45; 
Rad, Kinkaid to TG 77.11, 8 Jan 45. Last three in 
Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 5-11 Jan 45. 



54 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



none of the Southwest Pacific's local 
diversions took place as originally 
planned. On the other hand, the north- 
eastern Mindoro and Marinduque Is- 
land operations succeeded in liberating 
more Filipinos, helped to clear the Vi- 
sayan Passages, and secured the north 
coast of Mindoro against Japanese rein- 
forcement movements. The effects of 
the Pacific-wide program are unknown. 

By the time the deception value of the 
Southwest Pacific's diversions could have 
been realized, the Japanese on Luzon 
well knew where the main landings on 
that island had taken place. The Japa- 
nese were no longer concerned with 
southern Luzon — they had other fish to 
fry. 

The Approach to Luzon 

Allied aircraft, which had not concen- 
trated their efforts against southern 
Luzon, had been flying missions over 
widespread areas of Luzon for months. 
Carrier-based aircraft of the Third Fleet 
had struck targets on Luzon in Septem- 
ber while providing strategic support for 
the invasions of the Palau Islands and 
Morotai; they had hit Japanese installa- 
tions on Luzon again during October 
and November in support of the inva- 
sion of Leytc; and they had returned to 
Luzon in mid-December in support of 
the Mindoro landing. 26 By this time, 
Leyte-based planes of the Allied Air 
Forces and Seventh Air Force bombers 
from the Palaus had also initiated strikes 
against Luzon in a program of air attacks 
that doubled in intensity during late 

" G-i? GHQ SWPA, Monthly Summaries of Opns, 
Sep 44 and Nov 44, copies in OCMff files. The first 
strikes against Luzon were executed on 31 and 22 
September. See Cannon. JfLeytg, ch. IV. | 



December. On the 30th, Halsey's car- 
riers left the western Carolines on their 
way to Formosan and Philippine waters. 
Meanwhile, Kinkaid's surface forces had 
completed their preparations; the am- 
phibious attack convoys had finished 
loading and had set sail for Lingayen 
Gulf. " 

Assembling the Attack Forces 

The major problem amphibious and 
ground forces commanders faced in 
mounting the assault forces — once ship- 
ping limitations had been established — 
was that of co-ordinating staging activi- 
ties at widely separated points. For 
example, XIV Corps headquarters, corps 
troops, and the 37th Infantry Division 
staged and loaded at Bougainville, in the 
Solomon Islands nearly 3,000 miles 
southeast of Lingayen Gulf.^ The XIV 
Corps' 40th Division mounted at New 
Britain, 375 miles west of Bougainville. 
I Corps headquarters was at Hollandia, 
Dutch New Guinea, almost 2,000 miles 
from Lingayen Gulf; its 43d Division was 
125 miles to the east at Aitape in British 
New Guinea; and its 6th Division staged 
at Sansapor, on the Vogelkop Peninsula 
of western Dutch New Guinea some 625 
miles northwest of Hollandia. The 25th 
Infantry Division of Sixth Army Reserve 
had the longest distance to travel, being 
located on New Caledonia, about 1,300 
miles south-southeast of Bougainville. 
The 158th RCT loaded at Noemfoor 
Island, 440 miles northwest of Hollandia. 
Sixth Army headquarters, the 6th 
Ranger Battalion, and various other 
Sixth Army units were on Leyte, about 
500 miles southeast of Lingayen Gulf. 

17 All distances in this paragraph are straight-line 
statute miles. 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



55 



Service units were loaded at all these 
places and at various Services of Supply 
bases from Australia to Morotai. The 
staff work involved in co-ordinating the 
movement of such widely dispersed units, 
and in scheduling the arrival and depar- 
ture of shipping from each staging point, 
would stagger the imagination of anyone 
not well versed in the peculiar problems 
of waging war over the vast reaches of 
the Pacific. The wonder is not that some 
problems arose during the loading and 
staging, but rather that the problems 
were so few and relatively minor in 
nature. 

The XIV Corps was responsible for 
obtaining the supplies for its own units 
and for Sixth Army forces stationed in 
the Solomons and at New Caledonia. 
XIV Corps units staging at New Britain, 
New Guinea, Morotai, and Leyte bases 
obtained their supplies from the South- 
west Pacific's Services of Supply through 
channels established by the Eighth Army, 
to which these XIV Corps organizations 
were attached for logistical support dur- 
ing the staging period. An initial survey 
indicated that all XIV Corps units lacked 
25-30 percent of the supplies that 
Lt. Gen. Oscar W, Griswold, the corps 
commander, deemed essential for combat 
efficiency. But before loading began, 
those units staging in the South Pacific 
area had obtained 98 percent of their re- 
quired supplies while those mounting at 
New Britain and points west got 95 per- 
cent of their requirements. The major 
lasting shortage was that of wheeled ve- 
hicles, a shortage general shipping limita- 
tions imposed. The I Corps' supply 
situation was quite similar. 28 

28 XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pi. I, Opns, pp. 1, 8-12; 
ibid., pt. II, Administration, pp. 5—10, 27; I Corps 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 1, 13, 162—63. 



The principal trouble both corps had 
in loading stemmed from delays in 
receiving full information concerning 
characteristics and cargo capacities of 
ships assigned to them, the limitations of 
tonnage for each type of vessel, and 
changes in ship assignments. 29 To some 
extent these problems seem to have re- 
sulted from insufficient liaison between 
the Army and Navy headquarters con- 
cerned. For example, when ships of the 
III Amphibious Force arrived at Bou- 
gainville to load corps troops and the 
37th Division, the XIV Corps discovered 
that the tonnage allotments prescribed 
for each type of ship by Sixth Army load- 
ing instructions were greater than the 
limitations Allied Naval Forces had im- 
posed upon Admiral Wilkinson's ves- 
sels. 30 Again, Army loading planners 
often found that the information they 
had concerning a given ship's character- 
istics was based upon the characteristics 
of the ship as originally constructed, not 
as it had been modified by the Navy 
during a year or more of combat service. 



24 In addition to the sources listed in the previous 
note, description of these problems from the Army 
point of view is found in: 37th Inf Div Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 11-13, 1 9 1 ~9^' 885-86, 297-301; 40th Inf Div Rpt 
Luzon, p. 6; 6th Inf Div, G— 4 Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-8; 
43d Inf Div Rpt Luzon, p. 57; 43d Inf Div, G-4 Rpt 
Luzon, p. 1. 

80 The matter was finally straightened out after an 
extensive exchange of radios among XIV Corps, 
Sixth Army, Allied Naval Forces, and the III Amphi- 
bious Force during the period 16— 28 November, 
copies of which are to be found in XIV Corps G-3 
Jnl File Luzon, 13-18 and 19-24 Nov 44, and in Sixth 
Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 15-25 Nov 44. At least 
partially, the difficulties stemmed from the fact that 
XIV Corps had at first been instructed to employ 
long tons in planning its loading, but found that its 
figures had to be revamped on the basis of short tons. 
Comments of Hon. Hugh M. Milton II, Asst Secre- 
tary of the Army (CofS XIV Corps during Luzon 
assault), 6 Dec 56, in OCMH files. 



56 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Such problems frustrated and irritated 
Army loading officers but seeemd to have 
been ignored by the naval echelons con- 
cerned. 31 In the end these unfortunate 
— and perhaps avoidable — problems did 
not prevent the assault forces from load- 
ing on time with sufficient supplies and 
equipment to undertake the tasks as- 
signed. It is enough to say that the 
two corps and the two amphibious forces 
overcame the problems, just as they over- 
came others presented by adverse surf 
and beach conditions at some staging 
areas, the late arrival of some ships and 
ground service units at staging points, 
and the necessity for transshipping men 
and materials among various bases for 
more orderly loading. The job was done. 

XIV Corps elements staging at New 
Britain completed loading on 10 Decem- 
ber; those mounting at Bougainville fin- 
ished two days later. 32 On the 17th all 
groups of the HI Amphibious Force ren- 
dezvoused at Huon Gulf, eastern New 
Guinea, to rehearse the Lingayen assault. 
General Griswold felt that the 37th Divi- 
sion's rehearsal was satisfactory but had 



al To reach this conclusion the author consulted 
the reports of the Luzon Attack Force, III Amphi- 
bious Force, VIL Amphibious Force, and their various 
echelons, including many reports of individual ships. 
Of some forty naval reports consulted, only one, that 
of the AP President Polk, reflects any awareness of 
the problems that so harried Army planners. See: 
Extract From Report of President Polk, in COM- 
INCH, Amphibious Operations, Invasion of the 
Philippines, October 1944-January 1945, 30 Apr 45, 
ch. VII, p. 5. 

31 Information on staging and rehearsal is based 
principally upon: XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 
13-15, 24-25; 37th Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 15-17; 
I Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. ig, 19; 6th Inf Div, G-4 Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 4-7; 43d Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-5; 
43d Inf Div, G-4 Rpt Luzon, pp. 2-3; III Amphib 
Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 7-9; ibid., Encl G, Logistics, 
p. 2; VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 9-12. 



much fault to find with the 40th Divi- 
sion, remarking upon a "general failure 
to observe the spirit of the rehearsal." 33 
As a result, further training was con- 
ducted at Manus Island in the Admir- 
alties, where the convoy reassembled on 
22 December. 34 On the 27th LST's and 
LSM's, with escorts, made up a separate 
convoy and departed for Leyte Gulf. 
The rest of the force left on the 31st, all 
sections sailing toward a rendezvous 
with other components of the Luzon 
Attack Force, including the VII 
Amphibious Force with the I Corps 
aboard. 

The I Corps units staging at Aitape 
finished loading on 25 December and 
conducted a limited rehearsal on the 
27th, when they were joined by the head- 
quarters of the I Corps and the VII Am- 
phibious Force aboard the command ship 
Blue Ridge. 95 This combined convoy 
left Aitape on the 28th. The rest of the 
I Corps units finished loading at Sansa- 
por on 29 December and, having had a 
limited rehearsal on the 23d, sortied 
during the afternoon of the 30th. 

While the various amphibious attack 
groups were starting toward the objective 
area, the combat echelons of the Luzon 
Attack Force were also moving forward, 
all to rendezvous at Leyte Gulf during 



33 Memo, Griswold for Brush (CG 40th Div), si 
Dec 44, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File, 12 Dec 44-9 Jan 45. 

M Ltr, CofS XIV Corps to Maj Gen Robert S. 
Beightler and Gen Brush, 20 Dec 44, sub: Tng of 
Unloading Details and Shore Party Personnel, XIV 
Corps G-3 Jnl File, 12 Dec 44-9 Jan 45; XIV Corps 
Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 25. 

31 The I Corps report, page 13, states: "realistic 
rehearsals were feasible and carried out to the last 
detail." This statement is flatly contradicted by all 
Other Army and Navy reports that mention the 
I Corps-VII Amphibious Force rehearsals. 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



57 



the period 1-5 January. 30 There, on the 
4th, General MacArthur and members 
of his staff boarded the light cruiser 
Boise, sailing with two escorting destroy- 
ers as Task Unit 77.1.2. Admiral Kin- 
kaid and General Krueger went aboard 
the command ship Wasatch , which, with 
another two destroyers, formed Task 
Unit 77.1.1. 

The first portion of the Luzon Attack 
Force to leave Leyte Gulf consisted of 
the Minesweeping and Hydrographic 
Group (Task Group 77.6) together with 
a few oilers, ammunition ships, tugs, 
LCI(G)'s (Landing Craft, Infantry, Gun- 
boats), and screening vessels, all depart- 
ing about noon on 2 January. Later that 
day the bombardment and fire support 
vessels, Task Group 77.2, accompanied 
by twelve CVE's and escorts from Task 
Group 77,4, moved out of the gulf. Com- 
mand of these van echelons was vested 
in Vice Adm. Jesse B. Oldendorf, who 
was also the commander of Task Group 
77.2. 

During the night of 4-5 January an- 
other large element of the Luzon Attack 
Force moved out of Leyte Gulf into 
Surigao Strait. In the lead was Task 
Group 77.3, a close covering group con- 
sisting of three light cruisers and six 
destroyers, accompanied by Task Unit 
77.1.2, General MacArthur aboard. Next 
came the entire VII Amphibious 
Force-I Corps convoy with two CVE's 
providing cover, followed by the III Am- 
phibious Force-XlV Corps LST-LSM 
groupment. The whole formed a single 

" The remainder of this subsection is based prin- 
cipally upon; Luzon Attack Force Rpt, pp. 10-13, 
21-26; III Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. g— 10; VII 
Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 11—13; *bid„ Encl D, 
Chron Rpt, pp. 2-8; TG 77.2 (Bombardment and 
Fire Support Gp — Vice Adm Jesse B. Oldendorf) 
Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 5, 8. 



convoy over forty miles long. The main 
body of the III Amphibious Force-XIV 
Corps convoy left Leyte Gulf on the 
morning of 6 January, and, making more 
knots than the preceding elements, soon 
began to close the distance. 

Air Attack and Counterattack 

Meanwhile, the Pacific -wide aerial sup- 
port plan was in operation. Mindoro- 
based aircraft greatly stepped up the 
intensity of their attacks during the last 
week of December. Seeking to stop Jap- 
anese overwater reinforcements, these 
planes sank three large cargo ships or 
transports and an escorting frigate at 
Vigan, 100 miles north of the Lingayen 
Gulf beaches, on 30 December, and three 
days later at San Fernando, La Union, 
fifty-odd miles south of Vigan, got four 
cargo ships and another escort. Strikes 
against Japanese transport on Luzon 
were also profitable, and, the Allied Air 
Forces claimed, Leyte-based and Palau- 
based heavy bombers (B-24's) destroyed 
140 Japanese planes on the ground at 
various Central Plains fields during the 
period 20-25 December alone. 37 



87 During air operations in support of the invasion 
of Luzon, two members of the Army Air Forces won 
Medals of Honor. For a combination of heroic 
actions while flying fighter cover for bombers striking 
Clark Field on 25 and 26 December and for a fighter 
sweep over Negros Island on 7 January. Maj. Thomas 
B- McGuire of the Thirteenth Air Force was awarded 
the Medal of Honor. Tragically, the award had to 
be made posthumously since the major's plane 
crashed on 7 January as he tried to save a fellow flyer 
from Japanese attack. While leading a photographic 
and strafing mission against airfields in the Aparri 
and Laoag areas on 1 1 January, Maj. William A. 
Shomo of the 8ad Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron 
met a flight of thirteen Japanese aircraft, shooting 
down six Japanese fighters and a twin-engine 
bomber. For this action, Major Shomo was awarded 
the Medal of Honor. 



58 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



The Third Fleet's fast carriers sortied 
from UHthi on 30 December and arrived 
at their first launching point—about 140 
miles southeast of Formosa and 225 miles 
north of Luzon - — during the predawn 
hours of 3 January. There the carrier 
force began to run into bad weather con- 
ditions that were to hamper its operations 
for weeks. 

Admiral Halsey's missions for 3 and 4 
January were to destroy Japanese air 
power on Formosa, hit shipping in the 
same area, and conduct secondary strikes 
against the Ryukyus and Pescadores. 
Poor weather conditions curtailed the 
morning strikes and forced cancellation 
of all flights in the afternoon of the 3d. 
Weather the next day also limited flight 
operations, but Halsey reported that his 
planes had destroyed 100 Japanese air- 
craft and sunk 12 ships and damaged 18 
others during the two-day period. There 
were to be no strikes on 5 January, S 
minus 4, since the Third Fleet was to 
move to a new position from which to 
hit Luzon on S minus 3. On that, day, 
the fast carriers were to cover all Luzon 
north of Clark Field except, for the Lin- 
gayen Gulf Area, the Allied Air Forces 
were to blanket Clark Field and the area 
to the south, and Admiral Kinkaid's 
CVE planes were scheduled to fly against 
Japanese airfields in the Lingayen region. 
These plans were destined to be 
changed.. 38 

As of the 1st of December the Japanese 
Army and Navy had probably had a com- 
bined air strength of some 500 planes in 
the Philippines, the bulk of them based 

55 Craven and Gate, AAF V, pp. 406-11; JANAC, 
Japanese Shipping Losses, p. 78; G-3 GHQ SWPA, 
Monthly Summaries of Opus, Dec 44 and Jan 45, 
copies in OCMH files; CINCPAC-GINCPOA, Opns 
in POA During Jan 45, pp. 3, 23-33, 61-62; Halsey 
and Bryan, Halsey's Story, p. 242. 



on Luzon. 39 This strength had been 
largely destroyed by Allied air strikes in 
support of the Mindoro operation and 
during Japanese air attacks against Min- 
doro-bound convoys and the Mindoro 
beachhead area. By the 20th of Decem- 
ber, the Japanese Naval Air Service in 
the Philippines had no more than 30 
planes, and the Japanese Army Air Force 
was down to approximately 100 first-line 
combat aircraft. About that date, some 
50 naval planes flew to Luzon from 
Formosa to renew attacks against Min- 
doro, and shortly thereafter, it appears, 
a few Army aircraft also came down from 
Formosa or the home islands to reinforce 
Luzon. Many of these planes were lost 
during continued attacks against Min- 
doro until, by 31 December, the Japa- 
nese had probably no more than 150 
operational aircraft left on Luzon, and 
about a third that many on other fields 
in the Philippine archipelago, for a total 
of about 2 00. 40 

The Japanese had no intention of 
making a large-scale air effort, at Luzon 
and planned to send no strong air rein- 
forcements to the Philippines. Instead, 
they were devoting their main efforts to 
strengthening the air defenses of the 
homeland, the Ryukyus, and Formosa. 
Nevertheless, 200 combat planes was a 
respectable force. It could also be an 



a " Information from tile Japanese side in this and 
the next subsection is derived mainly from: Japanese 
Studies in WW II, No, 72, History of Army Section 
Imperial GHQ, pp. 156-61; No. 5, 4th Air Army 
Opns, 1944-45, p. 64-73, IT' Statements of Col Misoo 
Matsumac (Staff 4th Air Army), in G-3 GHQ FEC, 
Statements of Japanese Officials on World War II 
(hereinafter cited as States) (4 vols.), II, 434, 443, 

40 The total of about 200 is far less than the total 
aircraft the Seventh Fleet's CVF-'s alone later claimed 
to have destroyed in the Luzon area. The wide dis- 
crepancy between Allied estimates of damage and 
the Japanese figures is inexplicable. 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



59 



extremely effective and potent force if 
the Japanese elected to use the aircraft 
in kamikaze attacks. 

On the evening of 2 January the van 
group of the Luzon Attack Force — the 
mine sweeping and hydrographic group, 
with attachments — was entering the 
Mindana'o Sea, where three Japanese 
planes ineffectually bombed it. 41 Early 
the next morning five or six kamikazes 
jumped the force and succeeded in in- 
flicting minor damage on an oiler and a 
mine sweeper. By this time the main 
body of Admiral Oldendorf's force — 
battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and 
CVE's of Task Groups 77.3 and 77.4 — 
was also well into Visayan waters. Late 
in the evening a lone kamikaze slipped 
through air cover and antiaircraft fire and 
crashed aboard a heavy cruiser of this 
second echelon, inflicting considerable 
damage. 

Before noon the next day, 4 January, 
CVE-based planes shot down two would- 
be kamikazes, and Allied Air Forces 
planes, helping to cover the convoys, got 
another. Beginning at 1700 the Japanese 
ineffectually attacked the mine sweeping 
group, then off Mindoro, but not far to 
the rear a kamikaze caused such damage 

" The general sources for the remainder of this 
subsection and all of the next arc: Luzon Attack 
Force Rpt, pp. 10-18, 35-47, 5 ? -75» 80-83; T H Am- 
phib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 9-11, 17; ibid., End D, 
Air, pp. 2-5, 15, and End H, Battle Damage, pp. 1-4; 
VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 13-14, and Encl 
D, Chron Rpt, pp. 5-19; TG 77 2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, 
pp. 7-32, 35-42, 48-56; TG 79.1 (part of Wilkinson's 
command) Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 9-1 1, and Encl A, 
Chron Log, pp. 9—25; TG 79-2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, 
pp. 6-14, 42-43; TG 77.9 (Reinforcement Gp) Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 4-6, and Encl A, Chron Log, pp. 10-23; 
TU 77.4.2 (CVE's) Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 1-3, 6-13, 
16-18; TU 77.4.4 (CVE's) Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 
9-18, 21-28, 30-35, 38-41; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, 
Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 4-11, 47-56; Hal- 
sey and Bryan, Halsey's Story, pp. 243-46; Craven 
and Cate, AAF V, pp. 409-13. 



aboard a CVE that the ship had to be 
sunk after the loss of about 95 men 
killed and 65 wounded. The form Japa- 
nese air operations would take was 
becoming clear. 

MacArthur at this time reasoned that 
the attacks had been staged from Luzon 
airfields, where Allied Air Forces land- 
based planes had met considerable oppo- 
sition since the 2d. Late on the 4th the 
Southwest Pacific commander, having 
decided that land-based air operations 
against Luzon had not been as successful 
as anticipated, requested Halsey to com- 
mit the Third Fleet's planes against all 
Luzon at least as far south at Clark Field 
on 6 January. 42 Admiral Halsey agreed 
and, making every possible effort to co- 
operate with the Southwest Pacific forces, 
directed his pilots to hit air facilities at 
Manila as well as those at the Clark Field 
air center. 

On 5 January, while the Third Fleet 
was making preparations for the new 
strikes, Oldendorf's forward groups were 
having a bad time. In a series of kami- 
kaze attacks late in the afternoon— the 
time the Japanese most frequently chose, 
the Allied Naval Forces had learned — 
the Japanese had inflicted considerable 
damage on a CVE, a heavy cruiser, and 
a destroyer escort, while also hitting an- 
other CVE, a second heavy cruiser, two 
destroyers, a destroyer transport, a mine 
sweeper, a fleet tug, and an LCI(G). The 
first CVE was so badly damaged that it 
could not conduct flight operations on 
the 6th, S minus 3, and only limited op- 
erations thereafter. Personnel losses for 
the day were about 65 men killed and 
195 wounded, practically all of them of 
the Allied Naval Forces. Of some forty- 

4! Rad, MacArthur to Halsey, CX-55815, 4 Jan 45, 
in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 5-11 Jan 45. 



60 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



five Japanese planes attacking during the 
day, almost all were destroyed. 

Nor were the kamikazes the only Japa- 
nese forces the advance groups encoun- 
tered. In midafternoon two Japanese 
destroyers were discovered moving to- 
ward the mine sweepers, now off Manila 
Bay. An American destroyer and two 
Australian frigates tried to intercept the 
Japanese vessels but were unable to close 
within effective range. Oldendorf then 
ordered the CVE's to launch strikes 
against the Japanese ships. The CVE- 
based planes severely damaged both de- 
stroyers, which put back into Manila Bay 
sometime during the night. 

Far to the rear, the amphibious assault 
convoys had no trouble from Japanese 
planes on the 5th, but developed a num- 
ber of contacts with Japanese submarines. 
During the midafternoon a midget sub- 
marine fired two torpedoes toward the 
portion of the convoy that included the 
Boise, Mac Arthur's command post afloat. 
Both torpedoes missed and the subma- 
rine was later sunk by combined sea and 
air action. Another submarine, which 
could not be found, fired a torpedo or 
two at a group of LST's with no effect. 

On the morning of the 6th, Third 
Fleet carriers launched attacks from a 
position about 1 20 miles off northeastern 
Luzon. Weather conditions, together 
with Japanese dispersal and camouflage 
measures, reduced the effectiveness of the 
strikes, and Halsey's planes claimed the 
destruction of only thirty-two Japanese 
aircraft. 

The Kamikaze Threat 

It was small wonder that the Third 
Fleet had found so few planes, for most 
of the operational aircraft the Japanese 



still had on Luzon were engaged in attacks 
against Admiral Oldendorf's groups, 
now operating in or near Lingayen Gulf. 
At dawn on the 6th, CVE's and escorts 
took up air support positions just north- 
west of the gulf, Task Group 77,6 moved 
into the gulf to begin sweeping opera- 
tions, and the fire support vessels of Task 
Group 77.2 steamed into position to 
bombard shore installations. Mine 
sweeping started at 0700, almost coin- 
cidentally with a series of Japanese air 
attacks that lasted for the next twelve 
hours. 

Between 0700 and 0800 Japanese 
planes undertook some orthodox air at- 
tacks, bombing and strafing two destroy- 
ers, a destroyer transport, and three mine 
sweepers, but causing little damage. 
Kamikaze attacks began about 1 130, and 
by noon the Japanese had severely dam- 
aged a battleship and two destroyers and 
had inflicted lesser damage on two other 
destroyers. In the afternoon kamikazes 
sank l mine sweeper; severely damaged 
another battleship, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 
light cruiser, and 1 destroyer transport; 
and caused light damage aboard a heavy 
cruiser, 3 destroyers, a mine sweeper, and 
a seaplane tender. The heavy cruiser 
Louisville, hit for the second time in 
two days, had to retire from the gulf and 
join the CVE group outside, and a de- 
stroyer transport, also hit for the second 
time, likewise had to give up active oper- 
ations. The Japanese attacks killed 
nearly 170 men and wounded 500 more- 
misdirected friendly antiaircraft fire 
caused a few additional casualties. 

From their results, the Japanese air 
operations since 2 January can best be 
characterized by the term "limited suc- 
cess." Sb far, they had sunk two ships 
and caused damage of varying degrees to 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



61 



some thirty others, and killed approxi- 
mately 330 men and wounded about 
760. But the Japanese had not forced 
the forward elements of the Luzon At- 
tack Force to retire — on the contrary, 
mine sweeping and bombardment had 
progressed pretty much as planned. 
Nevertheless, Oldendorf and other Army 
and Navy commanders in the Southwest 
Pacific Area were worried. 

Admiral Oldendorf was worried with 
good reason. Previously, kamikaze oper- 
ations against his ships and those of other 
naval commands, though dangerous, had 
generally been executed by relatively 
untrained pilots who had taken few pre- 
cautions to avoid detection and antiair- 
craft fire and who often appeared to be 
flying partially damaged, lightly armored 
planes carrying little ordnance. In Jan- 
uary the kamikazes had been operating 
in a far different manner. 

There was now a definite program of 
kamikaze operations, for the vast major- 
ity of the perhaps one hundred Japanese 
aircraft that had attacked the forces 
under Admiral Oldendorf's command 
since 2 January had at least attempted 
kamikaze crashes. In addition, the pilots 
seemed to be more skilled. They took 
every advantage of radar-blanketing ter- 
rain, especially in the Lingayen Gulf 
area, and flew toward target ships at ex- 
tremely low altitudes, thus helping to 
avoid both radar and visual detection. 
Flight tactics included radical maneuver- 
ing designed not only to avoid antiair- 
craft fire and Allied planes but also to 
confuse observers as to which ship was 
the actual target. Finally, many of the 
kamikaze planes were heavily armored 
and armed. 

The Allies had expected great results 
from the relatively new proximity fuze 



for shipboard 5-inch antiaircraft weap- 
ons, but the Japanese planes usually ap- 
peared so suddenly and took such violent 
evasive action that 5-inch batteries could 
seldom track properly. The employment 
of the expensive special ammunition was, 
therefore, generally useless, and was 
sometimes even dangerous to friendly 
ships. Having missed approaching kami- 
kazes by such distances that fuzes were 
not activated, shells sometimes sailed on 
to explode on or near Allied vessels, 
thereby causing some damage and many 
casualties. The heavy cruiser H.M.A.S. 
Shropshire, which used its 8-inch bat- 
teries in antiaircraft barrages with pro- 
jectiles set to explode at either 2,500 or 
5,000 yards, evidently found her answer 
to the suicide planes. How effective the 
method was cannot be accurately ascer- 
tained, but it appeared to observers that 
a number of the kamikazes turned away 
from the Shropshire toward other ships. 
At any rate, kamikazes never hit the 
Shropshire. 

Other Australian ships and the U.S. 
Navy vessels, finding their 4.7-inch or 5- 
inch ammunition ineffective, fell back 
on their automatic weapons batteries — 
40-mm.'s and 20-mm.'s. However, Ad- 
miral Oldendorf reported that the pro- 
jectiles of these guns did not have 
sufficient explosive power or impact to 
knock out heavily armored kamikazes, 
even though those planes were hit many 
times as they drove through a veritable 
hail of antiaircraft fire. 

CVE-based planes had also proved un- 
able to stop the kamikaze attacks. The 
CVE's had maintained local air superior- 
ity in the Lingayen area and over other 
convoys on their way to the gulf, but 
kamikazes continually slipped through 
the air cover, and the CVE-based planes 



62 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



had knocked down less than half of all 
Japanese aircraft destroyed from 2 
through 6 January. Interception, as a 
result of the Japanese flight tactics and 
the radar problems, became largely a 
matter of luck in the Lingayen Gulf area. 

By evening of 6 January Admiral 
Oldendorf had concluded that the terms 
"local air superiority" and "adequate air 
cover" as understood before the Luzon 
operation had little meaning in the face 
of determined kamikaze attacks. What 
was required, he said, was a program of 
offensive air operations designed to keep 
all Japanese airfields within range neu- 
tralized until all Japanese planes were 
found and destroyed. His CVE's, he 
pointed out, could not undertake such 
a task. For one thing, they had too many 
other missions and for another they were 
too few in number even to undertake all 
their close support missions. Finally, 
Admiral Oldendorf went on, the planes 
with which the CVE's were equipped 
were simply not good enough to cope 
with the type of aircraft the Japanese 
were employing for the kamikaze attacks. 

Some thought of taking his ships out 
of Lingayen Gulf undoubtedly passed 
through Admiral Oldendorf's mind on 
the morning of 6 January, but he well 
realized the implications of such a retire- 
ment. He decided, instead, that if the 
kamikazes could not be physically de- 
feated, they might be beaten psychologi- 
cally. Therefore, he saw to it that the 
mine sweepers continued their opera- 
tions despite damage. Then, in mid- 
afternoon on the 6th, he sent in the 
bombardment battleships, cruisers, and 
destroyers, not only to undertake assigned 
missions but also to make the Japanese 
think that their suicide operations were 
ineffective. Despite the damage they 



incurred that day, the bombardment and 
mine sweeping groups did not begin 
retiring from the gulf's confined waters 
to take up night dispositions until al- 
most 1930, about an hour after the last 
kamikaze raids. 

As darkness came on 6 January, 
Admiral Oldendorf Was worried about 
what the morrow might bring, and again 
with good cause. When his forces had 
sortied from Leyte Gulf on 2 January, 
intelligence estimates had led him to 
expect that the Japanese would have 
300 to 400 operational planes on Luzon, 
with the capability of bringing in rein- 
forcements in sufficient numbers to 
mount daily air attacks with 150 planes 
for a period of ten days or more. 43 So 
far as the Admiral could ascertain by 
the 6th — from the reports of the Third 
Fleet, the Allied Air Forces, and the 
air and surface elements under his com- 
mand — the Japanese could have lost less 
than 125 aircraft so far, giving them at 
least 225 operational planes on Luzon 
alone with which to continue their 
kamikaze program. 

Oldendorf's estimate seemed close to 
reality the next morning, when Admiral 
Halsey reported that photographs taken 
by Third Fleet planes on the afternoon 
of 6 January indicated that 237 appar- 
ently operational Japanese aircraft were 
on Luzon, most of them based at Clark 
Field, 44 How the Third Fleet's intelli- 
gence officers arrived at this estimate is 
unknown, for by dusk on 6 January the 
Japanese actually had less than fifty op- 
erational aircraft left on the island. 
But Oldendorf could not know this, nor 
could he know that the Japanese had no 

"See ahove j ch. IL"| 

44 Rad, Halsey to Nimitz and MacArthur, 0020 7 
Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jn] File, 6 Jan 45. 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



63 



intention of exercising their capability 
of flying in strong reinforcements from 
Formosa and the home islands. He knew 
that the Japanese had not yet mounted 
attacks with their 150-plane daily poten- 
tial, and he also knew that the number 
of attacking planes had mounted steadily 
every day since 2 January. 

Oldendorf believed that the kamikaze 
attacks would continue, an opinion 
shared by General Willoughby, who now 
thought it possible that the kamikaze 
operations constituted one phase of a 
co-ordinated counterattack plan that 
would also involve operations of naval 
surface elements. 49 The worries that 
such estimates must have raised in Mac- 
Arthur's and Kinkaid's minds were cer- 
tainly not put to rest when, late on the 
6 th, Oldendorf reported that there was 
a vital and urgent need for additional 
air support at Lingayen Gulf. 

Recommending that the Allied Air 
Forces redouble its efforts against Luzon 
and that the Third Fleet move to the 
Lingayen area, Admiral Oldendorf 
pointed out that much more damage to 
the forces under his command would 
invite the Japanese Navy to sortie in 
some strength, precipitating an action 
with which his own forces were becom- 
ing progressively less prepared to cope. 
He went on to say that if kamikazes 
went to work on the amphibious con- 
voys — now well within Visayan waters 
— the results might be disastrous. He 
concluded with the ominous suggestion 
that the situation warranted immediate 
reconsideration of all current plans. 46 



a G-2 GHQ SWPA DSEI 1016, 7 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ 
Jnl File, 7 Jan 45. 

M Rad, Oldendorf to Kinkaid, 0614 6 Jan 45, VII 
Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, Encl D, Chron Rpt, p. 12; 
Rad, Kinkaid to Halsey, 1834 6 Jan 45, and Rad, 



On the basis of information previously 
available, Admiral Kinkaid had already 
taken steps to increase the weight of 
Allied air effort against Luzon. First, 
he had recommended to General Mac- 
Arthur that no more air elements be 
diverted to deception operations along 
the south coast of Luzon, but that planes 
assigned to these activities be reallocated 
to missions against Japanese fields on 
Luzon. General Kenney immediately 
issued orders reducing the scale of the 
diversionary efforts. Second, Kinkaid 
had requested Halsey to strike Luzon 
again on S minus 2. To this request 
the Third Fleet commander had agreed 
reluctantly, since he had planned to hit 
Formosa on the 7th. Halsey felt that 
further operations in the Luzon area 
would simply tie down his fast carrier 
groups to a passive role, and he thought 
it a better idea to bomb Formosa, wnence 
he erroneously believed most of the Jap- 
anese air strikes were originating. Never- 
theless, he reversed the Third Fleet's 
course, that force having already started 
toward Formosa. 47 

When he received Admiral Olden- 
dorf's late evening message, Kinkaid fur- 
ther requested the Third Fleet to attack 
all Japanese fields in the Lingayen Gulf 
area, heretofore reserved for CVE-based 
planes. Kinkaid hoped that the Third 
Fleet, in co-operation with the CVE's 
and the Allied Air Forces, would be able 

Oldendorf to Kinkaid, 2 1 1 o 6 Jan 45, last two in Sixth 
Army G— 3 Jnl File Luzon, 5-1 1 Jan 45. 

" Rad, Kinkaid to MacArthur, 0644 5 Jan 45; Rad, 
Kinkaid to Halsey, 1834 6 Jan 45; Rad, Halsey to Kin- 
kaid, 2054 6 Jan 45. All in Sixth Army G— 3 Jnl File 
Luzon, 5—11 Jan 45. Admiral Halsey, in Halsey and 
Bryan, Halsey's Story, page 243, states he received the 
request to repeat the Luron strikes from MacArthur, 
but no such message from MacArthur can be found. 
For canc ella tion of d eception operations, see above, 
page 53 and note 25. 



64 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



to place a day-long neutralizing blanket 
over all Japanese fields on Luzon. 
Admiral Halsey agreed. The Allied 
Naval Forces commander also wanted 
the fast carrier groups to move to new 
positions west of Luzon in order to pro- 
vide additional support for all echelons 
of the Luzon Attack Force and to 
interpose itself between Luzon and any 
Japanese surface elements that might 
approach under cover of the bad weather 
then blanketing the South China Sea. 
Kenney seconded Kinkaid's recommen- 
dations, but decision was deferred. 48 
MacArthur proposed further changes. 
Also believing now that the kamikazes 
were coming from Formosa, he re- 
quested, through the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff, that on 8 January B-ag's strike 
Formosa airfields instead of their sched- 
uled targets, the port facilities in north- 
ern Formosa. Later, thinking that the 
Japanese might be staging kamikazes to 
Formosa through the Ryukyus, General 
MacArthur asked that in addition the 
B-29's attack Okinawa airfields. The 
Joint Chiefs agreed to these requests, 
but bad weather conditions prevented 
the B-29's from carrying out the new 
assignments as planned. Successful B-2Q 
strikes against the Formosa fields were 
undertaken too late to do any good, even 
if the Japanese had been flying kamikazes 
from the Formosa area. 49 



a Rad, Kinkaid to Halsey, 0324 7 Jan 45, Sixth 
Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 5-11 Jan 45; Chamberlin 
Comments, 20 Jan 57. 

" In addition to sources noted previously, informa- 
tion on B_sg operations in support of the Luzon 
assault is from: Rads, MacArthur to Arnold, CX- 
56001, 7 Jan, and CX-56140, 9 Jan 45, CM-lN's 
5768 and 8096; Rads, Arnold to MacArthur, [Maj 
Gen Curtis E.] LeMay, Wedemeyer, et al, 7 Jan, 9 
Jan, g Jan, and 10 Jan 45, CM-OUT's 88424, 89316, 
89317, and 89580; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in 
POA During Jan 45, pp. 23—26, 66, 



Halsey's planes, still hampered by poor 
weather conditions, struck Luzon fields 
as scheduled on 7 January, claiming to 
have destroyed about 80 Japanese air- 
craft during the day. The effort did not 
halt Japanese air attacks. Of the 40 to 
50 operational aircraft the Japanese had 
left — it appears that the bulk of the 
planes the Third Fleet's aircraft de- 
stroyed on 7 January were not opera- 
tional to begin with — 20 or 25 attacked 
the various echelons of the Luzon Attack 
Force. 

At Lingayen Gulf the Japanese attacks 
of 7 January were on a greatly reduced 
scale, and most of them were of the 
orthodox type. However, these planes 
did succeed in sinking two of Oldendorf's 
mine sweepers. Far to the south, Japa- 
nese planes attacked the amphibious 
convoys intermittently throughout the 
day, but succeeded only in damaging one 
VII Amphibious Force LST. During 
the following night VII Amphibious 
Force destroyers sank a Japanese de- 
stroyer off Manila Bay, one that had put 
back into the bay on the 5 th. 

The next day, 8 January, the Third 
Fleet began moving toward Formosa, 
refueling on the way. MacArthur and 
Halsey had both recommended against 
Admiral Kinkaid's proposal that the 
Third Fleet take up a covering position 
off Luzon, and Admiral Nimitz had ac- 
cordingly instructed Halsey to proceed 
against Formosa as originally planned. 
MacArthur, who still believed that the 
kamikazes were coming from Formosa, 
also suggested that the Third Fleet at- 
tack Formosa on S-day, 9 January, espe- 
cially if the fleet were not in position to 
launch major strikes against the island 
on the 8th. 

Nimitz, MacArthur, and Halsey were 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



65 



looking upon the Third Fleet's fast car- 
rier groups as a strategic weapon of 
opportunity that should not be tied 
down to close support of a landing ex- 
cept in an extreme emergency. They 
realized that Oldendorf and Kinkaid 
were justifiably influenced by the dam- 
age the kamikazes had inflicted upon the 
Luzon Attack Force, but however reluc- 
tant to act against the recommendations 
of the subordinate commanders, the 
three senior officers felt that the best 
employment for the Third Fleet was at 
Formosa, from which the Japanese air 
was apparently operating. 50 

Poor weather conditions again cur- 
tailed the Third Fleet's operations on 
9 January and the strike against Formosa 
that day — none was launched on the 8th 
— did not prove as successful as hoped. 
Third Fleet planes destroyed 47 Japa- 
nese aircraft, 5 of them in the air, sank 
9 Japanese ships, and damaged ig other 
surface vessels. 

Meanwhile, the situation at Lingayen 
Gulf had taken a turn for the better. 
On the 8th, kamikazes struck the heavy 
cruiser H.M.A.S. Australia for the third 
and fourth times, inflicting such damage 
that Oldendorf had to relieve the ship 
of its bombardment assignments. That, 
however, was the only important dam- 
age Oldendorf 's groups suffered on the 
8th. For the amphibious convoys, on 
the other hand, things proved a bit hot- 
ter than previously. Kamikazes seriously 
damaged two escorting CVE's and in- 
flicted minor damage on an LSI, an 
LST, and an attack transport (APA) . 
In all, the Japanese employed no more 
than fifteen planes during the day, but 



M Rad, MacArthur to Nimitz and Halsey, 8 Jan 45, 
cited in VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, End D, Chron 
Rpt, p. 16; Chambcriin Comments, 20 Jan 57. 



had damaged six ships, killed about 50 
men, and wounded around 65 more. 

Throughout S-day, as assault opera- 
tions got under way at Lingayen Gulf, 
about fifteen more Japanese planes con- 
ducted scattered attacks. Kamikazes in- 
flicted severe damage on a battleship, 
hit the light cruiser Columbia for the 
third time and H.M.A.S. Australia for 
the fifth time, and damaged one destroyer 
escort. Friendly antiaircraft fire, for the 
second time, inflicted many casualties 
aboard the battleship Colorado. 

The Japanese were not quite through. 
On 10 January eight kamikazes attempted 
attacks, succeeding in damaging an APA 
and a destroyer escort. On the isth, 
striking with five planes, the Japanese 
severely damaged a destroyer transport 
and inflicted lesser damage on another 
destroyer escort and a destroyer trans- 
port. West of Luzon kamikazes, on the 
same day, hit convoys on their way to 
and from Lingayen Gulf heavily dam- 
aging 3 Libertys and lightly damaging 
another and a LST's. The 13th of Janu- 
ary brought with it the last significant 
air attacks on elements of the Luzon 
Attack Force. At Lingayen Gulf that 
day Japanese planes severely damaged 
another CVE, an APA, and an LST, 
while lightly damaging a destroyer trans- 
port. On the same day another APA 
suffered a bit from friendly antiaircraft 
fire. 

That was the end. For the Allied 
Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, it 
was more than enough. In the month 
following 13 December, when the Japa- 
nese first launched air attacks against 
the Mindoro-bound convoys, Japanese 
planes had succeeded in sink ing 24 ves 



sels and damaging 67 others. {(Table 1) 



Shipboard casualties from the air attacks 



66 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Table 1— Results of Japanese Kamikaze Operations 
13 December 1944-13 January 1945 



Type of Vessel 


Sunk 


Heavily 
Damaged 


Lightly 
Damaged 


Battleships 




3 




1 


Heavy cruisers 




2 




1 


Light cruisers 




3 






Escort carriers 


1 


4 




2 


Destroyers , , , 


1 


4 




11 


Destroyer escorts 




3 




2 


Destroyer transports , , , 




2 




1 


Mine sweepers 


3 


1 




3 


PT boats 


1 


1 




1 


Attack troop transports 




1 




3 


Fleet oilers 








2 


Fleet tugs 








1 


Small tankers 


2 








PT tenders , , 


1 








Seaplane tenders 




1 






Liberty ships , 




4 




2 


Landing ships, infantry 








1 


Landing ships, medium 








1 


Landing ships, tank , 


6 


1 




4 


Landing craft, infantry 


1 






1 


Landing craft, mechanized 


2 








Total 


24 


30 




37 



^Includes three Liberty ships benched and sbartdi 
Source: The sources for this table arc primarily tl: 

cited in note 8, p, 46, above. The totals in the table w 

The table also includes one PT destroyed and a Libe. 

includes vessels damaged indirectly as a result of karri 

on another vessel. 



icd at Mindoro. 

? naval documents cited previously in this chapter and Mori son, Th? lAhfreition, pa^es 
11 not necessarily agree with the text, because the table makes allowances for "repeats, *' 
ty ship severely damaged as a result of the naval action off Mindoro. Finally, the table 
kaze operations, such as the destroyer Moale being damaged by ammunition exploding 



numbered approximately 1,230 men 
killed and 1,800 wounded. Of these, the 
vast majority were men of the United 
States and Australian naval forces. Losses 
among merchant seamen were about 275 
killed and 100 wounded or injured, 
while U.S. Army shipboard casualties 
numbered around 150 killed and 200 
wounded. 51 



M Casualty figures are based upon the sources pre- 
viously cited; upon Morison, The Liberation, passim; 
and upon telephone conversation, 28 May 1952, 
author with Mrs. Kathorne A. Daly, Division of 
Insurance, U.S. Maritime Administration. 



In the same period, 13 December-13 
January, the Japanese had lost perhaps 
600 aircraft on or over Luzon and the 
Visayas to Allied air attacks or in kami- 
kaze operations. Of the total, probably 
at least a third had been destroyed in 
attempted or successful kamikaze attacks. 
With these losses, Japanese air power on 
Luzon ceased to exist. Although the 
Allies could not yet know it, they had 
nothing more to fear from Japanese air 
strength in the Philippines. 

When the kamikaze attacks tapered 
off, Allied forces had yet to develop an 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



67 



effective defense. The only answer 
seemed to be Admiral Oldendorf's pro- 
posals for complete neutralization of all 
Japanese fields within range. The im- 
possibility of accomplishing this with 
the means available in the Pacific during 
early 1945 was first demonstrated at 
Luzon in January and again at Oki- 
nawa in April, when damage to naval 
forces far surpassed that at Luzon. 52 In 
both campaigns kamikaze attacks ceased 
at Japanese initiative — at Luzon because 
the Japanese refused to send in strong 
air reinforcements; at Okinawa because 
they were unwilling to continue the 
heavy attrition of aircraft attendant upon 
such operations, preferring to save planes 
and pilots for the defense of the home- 
land. What would have happened at 
Luzon, where Allied air strength was 
weaker than at Okinawa, had the Japa- 
nese elected to exercise their capability 
of mounting attacks and reinforcements 
from Formosa is among the imponder- 
ables of World War II. 

Mine Sweeping and Preliminary 
Bombardment 

At Admiral Oldendorf's direction, 
mine sweeping, hydrographic surveys, 
shore bombardment, and support air- 
craft attacks had continued throughout 
the period of the worst kamikaze opera- 
tions at Lingayen Gulf. 53 When mine 

51 See Appletnan ft al., Okinawa, pp. 96—104, 489. 
During the Okinawa operation kamikazes alone sank 
26 ships and damaged 164 others, There the Japa- 
nese used about 1,000 aircraft in kamikaze attacks, 
while during the Mindoro-Luzon invasion period 
they employed about 200 in such operations, The 
percentage return was thus much greater for the 
Mindoro-Luron operation. 

53 This subsection is based principally upon: Luzon 
Attack Force Rpt, pp. 13-14, a6-gg, 48-52; TG 77.2 
Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 1, 6, 18-30; TU 77.4.8 Rpt 



sweeping began about 0700 on 6 Janu- 
ary, the day that the kamikaze attacks 
were at their height, Oldendorf expected 
reports of heavy mine fields and strong 
beach obstacles. Much to everyone's sur- 
prise, exploratory sweeps during the 
morning turned up only two floating 
mines and none of the moored type. 84 
When sweeping was completed on the 
8th, only four mines had been found. 

On the 7th underwater demolition 
teams had slipped into the gulf to begin 
their hazardous task of destroying beach 
obstacles, and hydrographic ships began 
marking shoals and taking soundings. 
Again contrary to expectations, no beach 
obstacles were found. The "frog men" 
encountered only a little rifle and ma- 
chine gun fire, and the few beach 
defenses they observed appeared to be 
unoccupied. Their tasks and those of 
hydrographic ships were completed on 
the 8th. 

While this work was under way, the 
CVE-based aircraft were bombing and 
strafing targets along the gulf's beaches 
and at inland points, flying 250 to 300 
sorties during the period from 6 through 
8 January. Meanwhile, those oft-for- 
gotten but highly important naval air- 
craft — battleship-based and cruiser-based 
seaplanes — were helping to direct the 
preliminary beach bombardment, which 
also began on the morning of 6 January. 55 

First targets were Japanese installa- 
tions in the San Fernando area, on the 

Lingayen Gulf, p. 4; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in 
POA During Jan 45, pp. 52-54. 

54 Col, Russell W. Volckmann, commanding a guer- 
rilla force known as the U.S. Army Forces in the 
Philippines (Northern Luzon), USAFIP (NL), 
claimed that his men had removed many mines from 
Lingayen Gulf during late 1944. Volckmann Com- 
ments, 10 Jan 57. 

60 See, for example, extract of report of USS Colo- 
rado, in Luzon Attack Force Rpt, p. 60. 



68 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



east side of the gulf, and on Santiago 
Island and the nearby mainland at the 
northwest corner of the gulf. Spotting 
planes could locate no suitable military 
targets in the Santiago Island area, and 
the bombardment vessels fired only a 
few rounds of ammunition in that direc- 
tion. Bombardment of the San Fernando 
area, answered by several ineffectual 
rounds from Japanese shore batteries, 
had lasted about two and a half hours 
when Admiral Oldendorf stopped it in 
order to send his battleships and cruisers 
further into Lingayen Gulf to support 
his beleaguered mine sweepers and to 
make the Japanese think the kamikaze 
operations were having no effect. The 
vessels were in position to fire at the 
southern beaches about 1715, one sec- 
tion hitting the town of Lingayen and 
its airstrip and the other concentrating 
on the San Fabian area, at the gulf's 
southeast corner. The firing was con- 
tinually interrupted by kamikazes, and 
when it ceased at 1915 not more than 
half an hour of actual bombardment 
had taken place. The Japanese did not 
return fire. 

Oldendorfs ships again covered the 
southern beaches on the 7th, once more 
with no answer from the Japanese. The 
day's firing ended about 1730, when the 
bombardment vessels, as was their prac- 
tice, began retiring from the gulf's con- 
fined waters to take up night positions 
outside. Returning on the morning of 
the 8th to resume bombardment about 
0800, one section again hit the Lin- 
gayen area. About ten minutes later a 
destroyer standing close inshore and a 
spotting plane from a battleship reported 
that Filipinos were forming a parade, 
complete with United States and Philip- 
pine flags, in the town of Lingayen. The 



fire was shifted to more westerly targets 
while leaflets were quickly prepared in- 
structing the Filipinos to clear the area. 
A spotting plane dropped the leaflets 
and the paraders dispersed. Bombard- 
ment started again as soon as the area 
seemed vacated. 

The reasons for resuming the bom- 
bardment of Lingayen and its environs 
in the face of this friendly demonstra- 
tion ashore are unknown, especially 
since neither underwater demolition 
teams nor spotting planes had discovered 
any signs of Japanese activity in the area. 
The town, at least, seemed safely in the 
hands of the Filipinos. The most obvi- 
ous explanation is that erroneous intelli- 
gence, having indicated that strong 
defenses would be encountered in the 
area, made it incumbent upon Admiral 
Oldendorf to continue the bombard- 
ment whether he wanted to or not. Too 
much was at stake to take a chance. 
Actually he could have put a force of 
seamen ashore on Lingayen Gulf's south- 
ern beaches on 8 January without fear 
— indeed, the entire beachhead area 
could probably have been occupied by 
men from the bombardment vessels 
without much risk anytime after Olden- 
dorfs vessels reached Lingayen Gulf on 
6 January. One can but ponder on the 
amusing (and undoubtedly confusing) 
results had the I and XIV Corps arrived 
at Lingayen Gulf to find the beaches 
already occupied by men of the Allied 
Naval Forces. 

The Filipinos in the Lingayen area 
could hardly have been pleased as they 
saw their homes and public buildings 
damaged or destroyed by what to them 
must have seemed an unnecessary bom- 
bardment. It seems a tribute both to the 
Filipinos and to the prewar administra- 



PRELIMINARY OPERATIONS AND THE APPROACH 



69 



tion of the United States in the islands — 
as well as a severe and obvious indict- 
ment of Japanese occupation policies — 
that the people of the Philippines took 
such adversities in their stride, not per- 
mitting personal resentments to overcome 
judgment and loyalty. 

Throughout the rest of 8 January, 
bombardment of the landing beach areas 
continued without incident. Practically 
no military installations or targets were 
found in the Lingayen town and air- 
strip area, and relatively few were dis- 
covered in the San Fabian region. The 
San Fabian bombardment vessels ran 
out of targets by 1530 and moved back 
up the gulf to strike the San Fernando 
area for another forty-five minutes, com- 
pleting the task that the Japanese kami- 
kazes had interrupted on the 6th. The 
Lingayen area ships had long since 
ceased their firing for the day. Thus 
ended preliminary bombardment 
operations. 

That the bombardment, mine sweep- 
ing, and air operations in the Lingayen 
Gulf area had been successful as a prepa- 
ration for an amphibious assault there 
can be no doubt. Ashore, considering 
the absence of Japanese defenses, air 
and naval bombardment targets had 
been more than adequately covered, 
while in the gulf the mine sweepers 
found only four mines. Judging the 
effectiveness of the bombardment is an- 



other matter. Since the ground forces 
suffered very few casualties during the 
landing, the shelling and strafing would 
appear to have been completely effective, 
but as Admiral Oldendorf pointed out, 
the "Japanese tactics of withdrawal from 
[the] beach areas probably made much 
of the bombardment unnecessary." 86 In 
the face of the kamikaze attacks, the 
situation might have been far different 
had the Luzon Attack Force encountered 
expected mine fields and shore defenses. 
During the night of 8— g January 
Oldendorf's forces cruised just within 
Lingayen Gulf and across its entrance. 
The amphibious attack convoys reached 
the entrance about 0400 on the gth, 
S-day, and, the bombardment vessels 
leading, immediately began moving 
southward to assigned anchorages. As 
the amphibious shipping deployed to 
begin landing operations, the fire sup- 
port vessels (control now vested in 
Admirals Barbey and Wilkinson) took 
up positions for last-minute preassault 
shelling. Under cover of this fire, trans- 
ports began lowering boats and loading 
them with troops; LST's disgorged LVT's 
and LVT (A) 's of the assault waves. All 
was in readiness for what many of the 
participating officers and men of the 
Luzon Attack Force and the Sixth Army 
firmly expected to be a bloody shambles. 



TG 77.S Rpt Lingayen Gulf, p. 36. 



PART TWO 
INVASION 



CHAPTER IV 

Establishing the Beachhead 



Considered as one event in the Allied 
campaign against Japan, the assault on 
Luzon contained within itself great stra- 
tegic significance. But to the Sixth 
Army, the attack across the Lingayen 
Gulf beaches was a tactical introduction 
to the Southwest Pacific Area's strategic 
goal — the recapture of the Central 
Plains-Manila Bay region. The landing 
would serve General Krueger's forces as 
the means to secure a base area into 
which to pour supplies and reinforce- 
ments, on which to establish air support 
units, and from which to launch subse- 
quent offensives against the main body 
of the Japanese 14th Area Army, Ac- 
cordingly, Sixth Army had limited ini- 
tial objectives. It would secure the 
terrain within the confines of the Army 
Beachhead Line and simultaneously de- 
ploy to safeguard its flanks against Japa- 
nese counterattack. Detailed planning 
did not extend beyond this preliminary 
stage. Sixth Army had only the barest 
outline of a plan for operations inland 
from the beachhead line — an outline 
based upon a concept developed at GHQ 
SWPA. This concept called for Sixth 
Army to push generally southward from 
the Lingayen assault beaches and secure 
crossings over the Agno River, the first 
major natural defensive barrier on the 
way to Manila. Once poised along the 
south bank of the Agno, Sixth Army 



would prepare to strike on southward 
toward Manila and Manila Bay. The 
manner in which the drive beyond the 
Agno would be conducted was left for 
future determination depending upon 
the developing tactical situation on the 
rest of Luzon. 

The Assault: S-day—S Plus 2 

First light on S-day, g January 1945, 
revealed an impressive armada of Allied 
vessels in Lingayen Gulf. The day 
dawned with a light but broken overcast. 
Visibility was excellent. Regular, gentle 
swells lent an aspect of serenity to the 
gulf's waters, and the surf breaking along 
the gulf's shores was neither high nor 
rough. As the sun rose higher, a touch 
of heat in the tropical dawn became 
more marked— a man could easily feel 
that on shore the day might wax as hot 
as the hinges of hell before evening 
brought relief. Weather conditions, if 
anyone aboard the ships of the assault 
convoys thought to make the compari- 
son, were far different from those the 
Japanese had encountered at Lingayen 
Gulf in December 1941. The Japanese 
had gone ashore during dark, predawn 
hours through heavy, rough surf. Black 
skies- and intermittent rain squalls had 
reduced visibility almost to the vanish- 
ing point, and the gulf's choppy waters 



74 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Southern Landing Beach at Lingayen. 

had thoroughly doused the invaders with 
chill spray. 1 

On g January 1945 the American 
assault troops awaiting debarkation from 
their transports could observe to their 
front (south) a generally fiat vista broken 
only by the taller buildings of the towns 
of Lingayen and San Fabian. It was 
impossible even to guess what this fea- 
tureless terrain might hold in the way 
of Japanese; the imagination could run 



1 Morton, Fall of the Philippines, pp. 128-29. 



Note provincial capital building, lower right. 

riot as smoke, dust, and fires from pre- 
assault air and naval bombardment rose 
to obscure the shore line. To the left, 
ominously brooding, lay the grassy, open 
foothills of the gulf's eastern shore. Be- 
yond these hills rose terracelike tiers of 
towering mountains that appeared at a 
distance to be heavily forested. It was 
only too easy for troops of the I Corps, 
coming in on the Sixth Army's left, to 
imagine what those dark mountains 
would contain. On the right the men 
of the XIV Corps had a view of the 



ESTABLISHING THE BEACHHEAD 



75 




Looking Inland, Eastern Shore of Lingayen Gulf 



lower, more wooded hills of the Bolinao 
Peninsula, forming the western side of 
Lingayen Gulf. No need to worry much 
about the peninsula yet — no assault was 
scheduled for that side of the gulf and 
available intelligence indicated that few, 
if any, Japanese were located there. Yet, 
all in all, a man with a good pair of field 
glasses could decide for himself that this 
assault could be a sticky affair. Hills and 
mountains dominated both the eastern 
and the western flanks of the landing 
beaches, and the mountains stretched 



off southward (on the west) and south- 
eastward as far as the eye could reach. 
Would the Japanese hold the flat land 
to the front? "Would they defend the 
hills and mountains? Or would they 
launch counterattacks from yet invisible 
mountain valleys? 

Ignoring the speculations of the assault 
infantry, the guns of naval fire support 
vessels began their S-day bombardment 
on schedule at 0700, At first the battle- 
ships, cruisers, destroyers, LCI (G)'s, 
LCI(R)'s (Landing Craft, Infantry, 



76 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Rocket), and LCI (M)'s (Landing Craft, 
Infantry, Mortar) , directed their fires 
upon selected landing beaches. Admiral 
Kinkaid was especially well pleased with 
the performance of the LCI (M)'s, the 
main batteries of which were Army- 
manned 4.2-inch chemical mortars. The 
high-explosive mortar fire, Kinkaid 
thought in retrospect, seemed more effec- 
tive for beach neutralization than the 
strafing undertaken by his CVE-based 
aircraft. But as the bombardment lifted 
from the landing beaches to the flanks 
o£ the assault area, troops of the leading 
waves were not concerned with such 
comparisons — their only concern was 
whether the beach bombardment, how- 
ever executed, would indeed be effective. 

The Right Flank 

The ships of Admiral Wilkinson's III 
Amphibious Force began debarking XIV 
Corps assault troops about 0730. 2 Short- 
ly thereafter, LVT's and LVT (A)'s dis- 
gorged from LST's to form the leading 
waves. At 0900 the first amphibians 
started shoreward from a line of depar- 
ture approximately 4,500 yards offshore. 

The landing beaches of the XIV 
Corps, on the Sixth Army's right, were 
located across the middle of Lingayen 
Gulf's southern shores and centered on 
Lingayen airstrip and the nearby grounds 
of the cap itol of Pangasinan Province. 
(Map /)* In peacetime one would have 



1 Information on plans and organization in this 
subsection is from: XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 
1-7; XIV Corps FO 1, 30 Nov ,{.); Ill Amphib Force 
(TF 79) Attack Plan No. A-305^44, 27 Nov 44, Sixth 
Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 2-5 Dec 44; 37th Inf Div 
FO 19. 12 Dec 44. 

•Maps numbered in Roman are placed in inverse 
order inside the back cover. 



considered the shore line a beautiful 
swimming beach, 3 a magnificient strand 
of firm sand stretching eastward almost 
nine miles from the mouth of the Cal- 
may River to the mouth of the Dagupan. 
The east bank of the Dagupan, which 
enters the gulf midway between Lingayen 
and San Fabian, delineated the bound- 
ary between the XIV and the I Corps, 
and bridges over the Dagupan were ex- 
pected to provide the first easy means 
of contact between the two corps. Since 
there was a gap of over six miles between 
the I Corps' westernmost beaches and 
the XIV Corps' easternmost, it was im- 
perative that the Dagupan crossings be 
seized without delay. Planners antici- 
pated that inasmuch as I Corps troops 
would be a mile or so closer to the river 
at the moment of landing they would be 
the first to reach the bridges, but it was 
XIV Corps' responsibility to relieve I 
Corps at the crossings as soon as possible. 

The 37th Infantry Division, landing 
on the XIV Corps' left, was to drive 
toward the Dagupan, while the 40th 
Infantry Division going ashore on the 
corps (and army) right flank, would 
make a quick thrust west and northwest 
to Port Sual and Alaminos. Port Sual, 
located at the southwestern corner of 
Lingayen Gulf, and at the western ex- 
tremity of the Army Beachhead Line, 
possessed some importance as the site of 
minor port facilities. Alaminos, about 
twelve miles northwest of Port Sual, lay 
inland on the Bolinao Peninsula. Early 
capture of road junctions at Alaminos 
would help forestall Japanese attempts 
to organize counterattacks against the 
Sixth Army's right flank. 



'Such, indeed, was the author's reaction when 
he examined these beaches in April 1957. 



ESTABLISHING THE BEACHHEAD 



77 



The XIV Corps' assault force was 
composed of eight of the corps' eighteen 
available battalion landing teams. The 
reserve infantry battalion of each of the 
four assault regimental combat teams 
was to follow the first two battalions 
ashore rapidly, but each division would 
retain one RCT afloat in reserve until 
S plus 1 unless the RCT's presence 
ashore was required earlier. 4 Each of 
the four assault RCT's 105-mm. how- 
itzer battalions would revert to division 
artillery control on S plus 1 or S plus 2, 
when all division and corps artillery 
would be ashore and an adequate artil- 
lery communications net would be 
functioning. 

The XIV Corps' assault waves had no 
trouble forming, and they headed to- 
ward shore in good order. 3 Probably 
because the leading amphibians and LCI 
guide boats moved more slowly than 
anticipated — an ebb tide was still run- 
ning — no landings were made exactly on 
schedule at 0930, but all XIV Corps 
assault waves were on the beach by 0940. 
Then came LCVP's (Landing Craft, 
Vehicle and Personnel), LCM's, LCT's, 
and LST's, all on schedules varying in 
detail from one beach to another. 8 Shore 
and beach parties soon started landward, 
and before 1 1 00 general unloading was 



* See a P p ,| A-3. | 

* The rest of this subsection is based mainly on: 
Luzon Attack Force Rpt, pp. 16, ga— 35, 51—52; III 
Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, p. is, and End C, Naval 
Gunfire, pp. 1-4; TG 77.2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 
38-30; TG 79.1 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, Encl A, Chron 
Log, pp. 15-17; TG 79.2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 
7—10; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 17—18; XIV Corps 
Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 35-53; 37th lnf Div Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 19-21; 37th Div G-3 Per Rpts, 9-13 Jan 45; 37th 
Div G-3 Jnl Files, 9-11 and 11—15 J an 451 40th lnf 
Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 9-1 a; 40th Div G-3 Jnl Files, 
9-12 J an 45. 

"See |"app. B. | 



under way across all III Amphibious 
Force-XIV Corps beaches. There had 
been no opposition. Indeed, as soon as 
the naval bombardment had lifted from 
the assault beaches, Filipinos began ap- 
pearing along the shore line, ready to 
aid the invading forces. 

The 1st Battalion of 185th Infantry, 
40th Division, landed on the corps' and 
army's extreme right. By noon, unop- 
posed, the battalion had marched six 
miles westward to the mouth of the Agno 
River. Before dusk LVT (A) 's carried 
elements of the 40th Reconnaissance 
Troop across the river to set up a road- 
block along the main road just three 
miles east of Port Sual. Meanwhile, the 
ad Battalion, 185th Infantry, had pushed 
directly inland through the town of Lin- 
gayen and had crossed the Calmay River 
and an east-west stretch of the Agno, two 
of the largest water courses that sliced 
the terrain behind the Sixth Army's as- 
sault beaches. Nightfall found the regi- 
ment's left over four miles inland along 
Route 13. The 185th had encountered 
no Japanese during the day and had 
suffered no casualties. 7 

On the 40th Division's left the 160th 
Infantry had also gone ashore without 
trouble and by dusk, having ferried 
across the Calmay, was assembling al- 
most four miles inland. The regiment 
had found few signs of Japanese activity 
and had suffered no casualties. The sd 
Battalion, 108th Infantry, the 40th Divi- 
sion's assault reserve, came ashore about 
1700 and assembled at Lingayen. 8 

'Additional information in this chapter on 185th 
Infantry operations is from: 185th lnf S-g Per Rpts 
and Overlays, 9—12 Jan 45; 185th lnf S-3 Jnl Files, 
9-12 Jan 45; 185th lnf S-2/S-3 Jnl, 9-12 Jan 45. 

8 No records of the 108th and 160th Infantry Regi- 
ments for the period 9 through 11 January can be 
located. 



78 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Immediately east of the 40th Divi- 
sion, the 37th Division's 148th Infantry 
poured ashore against no resistance. 9 
The regiment found a bridge over the 
Calmay River in its sector destroyed, 
but LVT's ferried troops across during 
the afternoon. The 129th Infantry land- 
ed on the XIV Corps' left. While part 
of the regiment went straight inland and 
across the Calmay, other units swung 
east along the beach toward the mouth 
of the Dagupan River. A few Japanese 
hidden behind a low sand dune and in 
houses behind the dune put up a show 
of resistance, but were quickly silenced 
by fire from LVT (A)'s or LCI (G) "s. 10 

During the afternoon men of the 
129th moved into Dagupan. Finding no 
signs of I Corps units in the area, the 
regiment crossed the Pantal River at the 
east edge of the city by LVT — the high- 
way bridge was out — and once on the 
east bank quickly made contact with 
troops of the I Corps' 6th Infantry Divi- 
sion. Later in the day the 129th probed 
south three miles from Dagupan to 
Calasiao, where it found nearby bridges 
over the Pantal and Mayruso Rivers 
either destroyed or unsafe for heavy 
vehicles. At dusk the regiment extended 
its right westward along secondary roads 
to gain contact with the 148th Infantry. 
Movement in both regiments' sectors 
during the day had been strictly confined 
to roads and to the relatively narrow 
beach area. Numerous fish ponds and, 
beyond the Calmay River, many dry 

* Additional information on the 148th Infantry is 
from: 148th Inf Rpt Luzon, 1 Nov 44-4 Mar 45, p. 2; 
148th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 9-12 Jan 45; 145th Inf S-g 
fnl, 9_i2 Jan 45. 

10 Additional information on 129th Infantry opera- 
tions is from: 129th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 2-3; i2gth 
Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 9-12 Jan 45; 129th Inf Regtl Jnl, 
9-12 Jan 45. 



rice paddies had prevented cross-country 
operations. 

By dusk on S-day the XIV Corps held 
a beachhead extending from Calasiao 
northwestward almost twenty miles to 
the outpost near Port Sual, a beachhead 
that penetrated inland for an average 
depth of some four miles. Practically 
unopposed — the corps' units had found 
only two very small groups of Japanese 
— the advance during the day "far ex- 
ceeded the wildest dreams of those who 
had planned the operation." 11 In fact, 
everything had gone so easily that divi- 
sion and corps intelligence and opera- 
tions officers had some forebodings about 
what the morrow might bring. 

S plus l, 10 January, proved little dif- 
ferent from S-day in the XIV Corps' 
zone, and the advance inland continued 
to resemble chessboard tactics. Probing 
westward toward Port Sual, elements of 
the 185th Infantry, on the corps' right, 
encountered a little resistance, but not 
enough to constitute a real threat. The 
160th Infantry pushed south on Route 
13, taking over along this route of ad- 
vance southward from the 185th, and by 
nightfall was nearly eight miles inland. 
A platoon of Japanese infantry, rein- 
forced by four armored cars, had delayed 
the 160th. The regiment lost approxi- 
mately 5 men killed and 10 wounded — 
the heaviest casualties suffered by any 
regiment of the XIV Corps during the 
first three days of the Luzon Campaign. 
The 160th Infantry killed 25 to 30 
Japanese in scattered contacts. 

On 11 January the 185th Infantry 
patrolled and consolidated its positions 
on the west flank, suffered no casualties, 
killed 5 Japanese, and captured another. 



" XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 53. 



ESTABLISHING THE BEACHHEAD 



79 



Early in the morning a Chevrolet sedan 
of 1940 or 1941 vintage, occupied by 
two Japanese, came calmly down the 
coast road from the direction or Port 
Sual. Obviously unaware that Company 
C, 185th Infantry, maintained a road- 
block on the highway, the Japanese prac- 
tically ran into the American outpost 
before they realized their situation. Be- 
fore they could recover from their sur- 
prise and consternation, both Japanese 
were dead, and Company C had acquired 
some luxurious transportation. 

With the 185th Infantry displacing 
generally westward and the 160th mov- 
ing south, a gap began to develop along 
the 40th Division's front. Accordingly, 
General Griswold, the corps commander, 
released the 108th Infantry (less 2d Bat- 
talion) from corps reserve and late on the 
10th Maj. Gen. Rapp Brush, command- 
ing the 40th Division, started the 108th 
south after the iGoth Infantry. The 
160th reached Aguilar, a road junction 
town ten miles inland, about noon on 
the 1 ith, finding the town already in the 
hands of Filipino guerrillas. 

Progress in the 37th Division's area on 
10 and 1 1 January was even faster. Push- 
ing generally southeast from its bridge- 
head across the Calmay, the 148th 
Infantry, against no resistance, reached 
the Army Beachhead Line in its zone 
during the afternoon of the 10th. The 
next day the regiment outposted the 
Army Beachhead Line from Dumpay 
west four miles to Bacnar, on the 37th- 
40th Division boundary in this area. 
Patrols then probed five miles south from 
Bacnar to the Agno River at Urbiztondo, 
which guerrillas held. But when a patrol 
of the 37th Reconnaissance Troop sped 
south out of Dumpay toward the Agno 
River at Bayambang, it found indica- 



tions that the Japanese were going to 
defend the Bayambang crossing. 

On the division left the 129th Infan- 
try, on 10 January, marched south eight 
miles from Calasiao to be greeted by 
guerrillas at Malasiqui. A skirmish with 
a Japanese force south of Malasiqui late 
in the day halted the advance and the 
bulk of the regiment held at Malasiqui 
during the 11th, maintaining contact 
with I Corps units to the north and with 
the 148th Infantry to the west. The 37th 
Division's remaining regiment, the 145th 
Infantry, remained in reserve to the rear. 

By evening on S plus 2 the XIV 
Corps had either physically occupied or 
outposted practically all the area within 
the Army Beachhead Line in its zone. 
Only on the corps' extreme right, on 
high ground southeast of Port Sual, had 
no units reached the beachhead line, but 
the corps had found no evidence that 
organized groups of Japanese held any 
portion of that rough, largely trackless, 
hill country. The XIV Corps had pene- 
trated approximately ten miles south- 
ward on its right to Aguilar and over 
eighteen miles on the left along the corps 
boundary. In the absence of significant 
Japanese opposition, the corps' units had 
advanced in a somewhat mechanical 
manner. There had existed no chance 
for the spectacular or the heroic — for 
the most part the corps had secured un- 
defended terrain methodically, slowed 
primarily by requirements of caution 
and the danger of outrunning its sup- 
plies. The corps had a firm hold on the 
ground it had traversed, but one weak- 
ness in the corps' situation became stead- 
ily more apparent. The corps' left flank 
was exposed for a distance of some three 
miles, since the I Corps had been unable 
to keep pace in the advance southward. 



80 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



The Left Flank 

Unlike those in the XIV Corps' area, 
the I Corps' beaches were widely sepa- 
rated. 12 The 6th Division, going ashore 
on the I Corps' right, landed on Blue 
Beaches 1 and 2, which centered on a 
sandy coast about midway between the 
mouth of the Dagupan and that of the 
Bued River, five miles to the northeast. 
The west bank of the Bued marked the 
boundary between the 6th and 43d Divi- 
sions. Just east of the river's mouth at 
San Fabian the 103d RCT, 43d Division, 
landed on White Beach 3. Almost two 
miles to the northeast lay White Beach 
2, the 169th RCT's landing site. At 
White Beach 1, adjoining White 2 and 
opposite the barrio (small town) of 
Mabilao, the 2d Battalion of the i72d 
Infantry was the assault unit — the divi- 
sion's, corps', and army's leftmost 
element. 

I Corps held out as reserve the 6th 
Division's 63d RCT. The 1st and 3d 
Battalions, i72d Infantry, prepared to 
land on call at any White Beach, com- 
prised the 43d Division's reserve, while 
a battalion of the 20th Infantry was the 
principal reserve for the 6th Division. 

As in the XIV Corps' zone, and for 
similar reasons, none of the I Corps' as- 
sault landing took place exactly on 
schedule. On the corps' right, the 20th 
Infantry landed unopposed, over Blue 
Beach 2 shortly after 0930. Almost simul- 
taneously, the 1st Infantry went ashore 

11 General sources for this information are: Sixth 
Army Rpt Luzon, I, 17-18; VII Amphib Force Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 15-19, and Encl D, Chron Rpt, pp. 16-18; 
I Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 6-11, 2i-a8; 6th Inf Div 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-6; 6th Inf Div G-g Jnl and G-g 
Jnl Files, 9-13 Jan 45; 43d Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 
1-8; 43d Inf Div G-g Per Rpts, 10-12 Jan 45 (9 Jan 
missing); 43d Inf Div G-3 Jnl, 9-12 Jan 45. 



at Blue i. 18 Moving northeast along the 
beach to the Bued's mouth and then 
south about a mile and a half along the 
west bank of the river, troops of the ist 
Infantry secured damaged rail and high- 
way bridges across the stream in mid- 
afternoon, and established contact with 
the 43d Division, Then the ist Infantry's 
right pushed rapidly south to Mangal- 
dan, three miles inland. At dusk patrols 
reached out to the Patalan River, a mile 
east of Mangaldan, and hurried westward 
to make contact with the 20th Infantry. 
The 20th had meanwhile established con- 
tact with the 37th Division at both 
Dagupan and Calasiao. Only one small 
group of Japanese, which the 1st Infan- 
try encountered, disputed 6th Division's 
advance during the day. By nightfall the 
6th Division's penetration — averaging 
about three and a half miles — was not 
as deep as that achieved by the 37th Divi- 
sion on S-day, but the 6th Division had 
more than kept pace with the 43d 
Division, on the I Corps' left. 

The 43d Division had the most haz- 
ardous and difficult S-day tasks. On the 
division's left low hills lay scarcely three- 
quarters of a mile inland from White 
Beaches 1 and 2. Stretching northward, 
and coming still closer to Lingayen Gulf's 
eastern shore, a first line of low, grass- 
covered hills formed a somewhat broken 
ridge line, the seaward slopes of which 
grew steeper as the hills proceeded north 
along the coast. Beyond this first range, 
which averaged less than 250 feet in 
height, lay another, more irregular north- 
south ridge that rose to 350 feet. Still 



"Additional information on the ist Infantry is 
from: ist Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. a— 8; ist Inf S— 3 Opns 
Rpts, 9-12 Jan 45; 1st Inf S-3 Jnl, 9-12 Jan 45; 1st 
Inf Msg, Order, and Ltr File, 9-12 Jan 45 (actually 
a sort of S-3 Jnl File). 



ESTABLISHING THE BEACHHEAD 



81 



further east — a little over three miles 
inland — was yet a third steep-sided, grass- 
covered ridge line, this one averaging 
around 600 feet high. 

The three tiers of ridges overlooked 
the 43d Division's beaches from the 
north, northeast, and east. They pro- 
vided the Japanese with natural defen- 
sive terrain, excellent observation, good 
positions from which to deliver direct 
fire on the beaches, and cover behind 
which there was protection from the es- 
sentially flat trajectory of naval support 
fires. Moreover, the ridges were close to 
assembly areas further inland that could 
provide large Japanese forces with cover 
and concealment. In a single night the 
Japanese could move considerable 
strength from these assembly points into 
the tiers of hills to launch a counter- 
attack against the Sixth Army's left. 

Accordingly, the I Corps directed the 
43d Division to seize the most dominat- 
ing of the nearby hills as quickly as possi- 
ble. While the 103d Infantry, on the 
division right, struck generally south and 
southeast toward the Army Beachhead 
Line in its sector, the 169th Infantry 
was to drive due east from its beach to 
clear Hill 470. Lying three miles inland, 
Hill 470 was the highest point at the 
southern end of the third ridge line east 
from White Beaches 1 and 2. The 2d 
Battalion, i72d Infantry, was to strike 
inland to secure Hill 247, at the south- 
ern end of the first ridge, and Hill 385, 
on the second ridge. These objectives 
lay respectively one and one and a half 
miles inland and slightly northeast of 
the beaches. Other elements of the i72d 
Infantry were to push north along the 
gravel-surfaced beach road to set up 
roadblocks and to probe up the coastal 
ridge line in the area north of Mabilao. 



The 169th Infantry, landing in col- 
umn of battalions, rapidly fanned out to 
the east and southeast. Japanese artillery 
and mortars emplaced in the rising 
ground northeast of the beach harassed 
the regiment most of the day, and a few 
small groups of Japanese infantry op- 
posed the regiment's march. At dusk, the 
169th was at Binday, near the Bued 
River about four miles southeast of 
White Beach 2. Left flank units extended 
the lines northward along gentle, open 
slopes leading to Hill 470. The regi- 
ment had not yet taken this objective, 
and patrols reported that strong Japanese 
forces held the hill. 14 

As the 2d Battalion, i72d Infantry, 
landed across White Beach 1, Japanese 
mortar and artillery fire fell sporadically 
among landing craft and along the shore. 
Nevertheless, the battalion quickly se- 
cured the little that was left of barrio 
Mabilao, and patrols thrust rapidly up 
the beach road about half a mile to bar- 
rio Alacan. The rest of the battalion 
struck for Hill 247 and by 1230 seized 
that grassy-sloped terrain feature against 
scattered resistance. In the face of in- 
creasingly heavy small arms and mortar 
fire, combat patrols, under constant ob- 
servation by the Japanese on the open 
ground of the i72d's sector, moved on 
toward Hill 385, the crest and eastern 
slopes of which were still in Japanese 
hands at dark. Meanwhile, beach condi- 
tions being suitable and there being no 
requirement to commit it elsewhere, the 
division reserve — the bulk of the i72d 
RCT — started ashore at White Beach 1 
about 1000. Some of the new arrivals 



"Sources for i(5gth Infantry operations in this 
chapter include: 169th Inf Rpt Luzon, 9 Jan-50 Jun 
45, pp. 4-5: 169th Inf Unit Jnl and Jnl Files, 9-13 
Jan 45. 



82 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Dusk, 9 January 



set up roadblocks along the coastal high- 
way north of Alacan; one battalion 
remained in reserve near Mabilao. 15 

On g January the 103d Infantry's op- 
erations soon tended to become tactically 
distinct from those of the 169th and 
i72d Infantry Regiments on the 43d Di- 
vision's left, a condition that obtained 
for several days. The logd's initial ob- 
jective was Hill 200, the high point of 
a two-mile-square group of low, gently 
sloping, grassy hills that lay almost ten 
miles southeast of the regiment's assault 
beach, White Beach 3. From points of 
vantage on the Hill 200 complex, Japa- 
nese observers could watch deployment 
of American forces over a large area 
south and southeast from the Sixth 



" Additional information on the 1 72d Infantry is 
from: l-jsd Inf Rpt Luzon, g Jati-13 Feb 45, pp 1-4; 
i72d Inf Rpts, 9-12 Jan 45; i^2d Inf Msg File 
and Jnl, 9—12 Jan 45. 



Army's assault beaches. Moreover, the 
hills dominated the easiest and shortest 
approaches from the I Corps' landing 
area to Route 3, the main highway run- 
ning down the west side of the Central 
Plains to Manila. 

Making an easy landing, the 103d 
Infantry was through shattered San Fa- 
bian by 1030, having encountered no 
opposition. Small groups of Japanese 
delayed further advances toward the Hill 
200 area, but by dusk leading elements 
of the 103d had penetrated almost four 
miles inland. The regiment held for the 
night just north of San Jacinto, two miles 
east of the 1st Infantry's concentration at 
Mangaldan. 18 



18 Additional information on the 103d Infantry is 
from: 103d Inf Rpt Luzon, 1 Jan— 31 May 45, pp. 
4-10; 103d RCT S-3 Per Rpts, 9—12 Jan 45; 103d Inf 
Opns Jnl, 9-1 a Jan 45, 



ESTABLISHING THE BEACHHEAD 



83 



Although the I Corps' assault units 
were ashore by dusk on S-day, there were 
important differences between the situa- 
tion in its zone and that in the XIV 
Corps area. The I Corps' penetration 
had not been as deep. The rising terrain 
in the sector of the 169th and i72d In- 
fantry Regiments, harassing fire from 
Japanese mortars and artillery, and de- 
laying actions by small groups of Japa- 
nese across much of the corps front had 
combined to slow progress. Moreover, 
I Corps had no solid front. The 103d 
Infantry, on the 43d Division's right, had 
no physical contact with the 6th Division, 
and within the 43d Division area gaps 
existed between the flanks of the 103d, 
169th, and i^j2d Infantry Regiments. In 
the open, heavily populated area over 
which the I Corps was operating so far, 
such gaps attained little significance — it 
would be extremely difficult, if not im- 
possible, for the Japanese to launch sur- 
prise counterattacks over the terrain the 
I Corps had secured on S-day. But if the 
gaps continued to exist, or if they wid- 
ened as the corps' left flank units moved 
further into the hills on an axis of ad- 
vance divergent from the center and 
right flank forces, then trouble might 
very well arise. 

On 10 January the 6th Division — less 
the 63d RCT, still in corps reserve — 
displaced generally south and south- 
southeast about four miles over flat, dry, 
open, and hot farm land, and at nightfall 
held a front of roughly seven miles, west 
to east. The division had had difficulties 
getting supplies forward during the day, 
a problem that, combined with a few 
minor skirmishes, had slowed progress. 
The 1st and 20th Infantry Regiments 
lost a men killed and 10 wounded on 10 
January, and killed 15-20 Japanese. 



Again the advance of the division had 
not kept pace with the 37th Division on 
the XIV Corps' left, and by dark on the 
10th there was a 9-mile discrepancy of 
penetration along the corps boundary. 

To the left of the 6th Division, the 
103d Infantry of the 43d Division moved 
forward on 10 January on an ever- 
expanding front, the axes of advance of 
its flanks forming an angle of nearly 90 
degrees. The 2d Battalion engaged in a 
game of tag with a Japanese tractor- 
drawn 75-mm, artillery piece, which de- 
layed the American unit from successive 
positions down the graveled road toward 
Manaoag at the southwestern corner of 
the Hill 200 group. The io3d's support- 
ing artillery destroyed the Japanese trac- 
tor during the afternoon, but the Japanese 
manhandled their gun into Manaoag as 
the American battalion halted west of the 
town for the night. The regiment's other 
two battalions held west and northwest 
of the Hill 200 area. Again, as dark 
came the 103d Infantry was out of con- 
tact with the 6th Division, to the right, 
and the 169th Infantry, to the left. 

On the 11th the 103d Infantry started 
up the open, grassy, western slopes of the 
Hill aoo complex and soon discovered 
that it faced stiff fighting before it could 
secure the area. To the right, the 6th 
Division's 1st Infantry, which made pa- 
trol contact with the 103d near Manaoag 
during the day, consolidated positions 
held the previous night. The 20th In- 
fantry, against no opposition, again ad- 
vanced over open farm land and secured 
about five miles of ground in a south- 
southeasterly direction across a front of 
nearly six miles. At dark the 20th Infan- 
try was still about three miles behind the 
main body of the 129th Infantry, 37th 
Division, along the corps boundary 



84 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



The situation had developed far dif- 
ferently on 10 and 11 January in the 
zones of the i6gth and i72d Infantry 
Regiments, on the I Corps' left. Troops 
of both regiments began looking deep 
into the face of death on 10 January, 
gaining a foretaste of the type of resist- 
ance that would hold up the 43d Divi- 
sion for the next month. The division 
had had ample combat experience in the 
steaming jungles of the South Pacific and 
New Guinea, but the enervating heat, 
the steep-sided bare hills, and the fanati- 
cal opposition in the rising ground east 
and northeast of Lingayen Gulf was 
something else again. The worst of pre- 
assault imaginings about the Japanese in 
that sun-baked yet depressing hill 
country would come true all too soon. 

Encountering resistance described as 
"heavy," 17 the 1st Battalion, 169th In- 
fantry, behind close artillery and mortar 
support, fought throughout 10 January 
along the steep, grassy slopes of Hill 470 
and finally seized the crest about 1730. 
The rest of the regiment, meanwhile, 
struck across the Bued River toward Hills 
355 and 318, respectively two miles 
southeast and two and a half miles south 
of Hill 470. Treeless like the other hills 
in this portion of the 43d Division's area, 
Hills 318 and 355 provided the Japanese 
with excellent observation of the I Corps 
beaches, controlled the approaches to 
Route 3 in the country north of the 103d 
Infantry's sector, and also dominated the 
southern approach to grassy Mt. Alava, a 
520-foot-high hill mass lying less than 
two miles east of Hill 470. 

The i6gth's drive toward Hills 318 
and 355 on 10 January halted near the 



" 169th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. r,. 



Bued in the face of intensive artillery, 
mortar, and machine gun fire. On the 
1 1 th the regiment virtually surrounded 
Hill 318 but, despite the closest possible 
support from CVE-based aircraft, naval 
gunfire, and division artillery, was un- 
able to dislodge the Japanese, who had 
tunneled themselves into the sides of the 
dirt and rock hill. The cave and tunnel 
defenses at Hill 318 typified those being 
found by all elements of the 43d Division 
on 10 and 11 January, and the Japanese 
employed their holes not only for infan- 
try protection but also for mortar and 
artillery emplacements. At Hill 318, 
specifically, the Japanese garrison consist- 
ed of an infantry company reinforced 
by mortars and a few pieces of artillery. 

To the north on 10 and 1 1 January, 
the i72d Infantry encountered similar 
defensive installations. The regiment 
cleared Hill 385 on the 10th and then 
struck toward Hills 351 and 580, along 
the southern part of the third ridge line 
inland from the beaches. Mopping-up 
operations at Hill 385, Japanese mortar 
and artillery fire, and danger from 
friendly artillery supporting the i6gth 
Infantry at the southern end of the 
ridge, combined to slow the drive on 
Hill 351. On the 11th Japanese mortar 
and artillery fire all across the 17 2d In- 
fantry's eastward-facing front waxed so 
intense that Maj. Gen. Leonard F. Wing 
decided to change the regiment's direc- 
tion of attack from east to north. He 
ordered the unit to strike toward Hills 
351 and 580 from Hill 470, in the i6qth's 
zone, and from other points of vantage 
along the southern end of the third ridge 
line. Redeployment consumed much of 
the nth, and the i72d's right flank 
therefore gained little ground during the 
day. 



ESTABLISHING THE BEACHHEAD 



85 



On the division, corps, and army ex- 
treme left on 10 January the ist Battal- 
ion, 1 72d Infantry, advanced two miles 
up the graveled coast road and patrolled 
along the crest of the coastal ridge. Little 
opposition from Japanese infantry greet- 
ed this advance, but Japanese mortar and 
artillery fire harassed the battalion from 
the north and east. On the morning of 
the nth the unit held its forward posi- 
tions until relieved by the 158th RCT 
of Sixth Army Reserve. 

The Beachhead Through S Plus 2 
Committing the Sixth Army Reserve 

As early as evening of 10 January, 
Sixth Army operations and intelligence 
officers had decided that the Sixth Army 
Reserve should be committed to the I 
Corps zone, as contemplated in the pre- 
assault plans. The situation at Lingayen 
Gulf was sufficiently disturbing to give 
pause to intelligence officers from infan- 
try battalions on up through General 
MacArthur's headquarters. All units had 
anticipated strong opposition, but as yet 
only the i6gth and l^d Infantry Regi- 
ments, on the far left, had encountered 
significant resistance, and it had begun 
to appear that these two units had un- 
covered a formal defense line. The Japa- 
nese had obviously withdrawn whatever 
strength they may once have deployed in 
the immediate assault area, but it was 
the consensus of intelligence officers that 
this withdrawal was a ruse. The Japanese 
were probably inviting the Sixth Army 
to overextend its lines until its flanks 
became vulnerable to counterattack. 

Attention focused on the left as the 
probable point of Japanese attack. Al- 
lied air reconnaissance had substantiated 



guerrilla reports of Japanese troop move- 
ments and strong defenses to the north, 
northeast, and east of the I Corps beaches, 
and the opposition the 43d Division had 
encountered provided additional confir- 
mation. Indeed, as resistance increased 
along the 43d Division front on 10 and 
1 1 January, many intelligence officers 
began to feel that a Japanese counter- 
attack might be imminent and that the 
Japanese were delaying the 43d Division 
primarily to gain time to assemble forces 
for a large-scale counteroffensive. 18 

Other factors prompted commitment 
of the reserve in the I Corps zone, pos- 
sibly the most important being Krueger's 
desire for I Corps to advance toward the 
Army Beachhead Line at a pace more 
commensurate with that of XIV Corps. 
There were many reasons why I Corps 
had been unable to keep up. The corps 
had to cover far more ground to gain its 
objectives than did XIV — fully three- 
quarters of the terrain enclosed within 
the Army Beachhead Line initially lay 
within the I Corps' zone. In addition, 
I Corps had to advance halfway around 
the compass— from north up Lingayen 
Gulf's east shore around to the south 
along the corps boundary. In the smaller 
XIV Corps zone the advances had to 
cover only a quarter of the compass, 
from west to south, and, with no resist- 
ance on the west, XIV Corps could place 
emphasis on its advance south across a 
front approximately fifteen miles wide. 
The I Corps, by evening on 1 1 January, 
held an overextended front stretching 



18 G-2 Sixth Army, G-2 Estimate of the Enemy Sit- 
uation as of 1800 10 Jan 45, and G-S Sixth Army, 
G-2 Per Rpt 371, 9 Jan 45, both in Sixth Army G— 3 
Jnl File Luzon, 5-1 1 Jan 45; G-« GHQ SWPA. DSEI's 
1019 and io3o, 10 and 11 Jan 4s , G-3 GH Q Jnl Files, 
10 and 11 Jan 45. See also above ] eh. H. | 



86 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



along an arc of some twenty-five miles 
from the gulf's coast north of Alacan to 
Balingueo on the corps boundaiy. 

The divergent advances of the I Corps 
divisions tended to create gaps along the 
front, gaps that would widen unless the 
corps received reinforcements. The ex- 
istence of such gaps slowed progress, for 
all units had to patrol far to their flanks 
to maintain physical contact with 
friendly forces and to make sure that no 
concentrations of Japanese were bypassed. 
In this situation, the task of division re- 
connaissance troops and regimental in- 
telligence and reconnaissance platoons 
was of special importance and significance. 

The I Corps' relatively slow progress 
southward began to hold up. XIV Corps, 
for the latter's left flank, exposed for al- 
most nine miles during the night of 10- 
1 1 January, was still exposed for about 
three miles at dusk on the 1 1 th. Although 
the entire XIV Corps could apparently 
move south from its positions on the 
Army Beachhead Line and cross the 
Agno River without meeting serious op- 
position, the advance would increase the 
gap along the corps boundary. It would 
avail nothing for the 6th Division to 
proceed southward abreast of the XIV 
Corps' left — such a move would create 
an exposed flank within I Corps. Either 
I Corps would have to be strengthened 
or XIV Corps would have to halt. For 
obvious reasons the latter solution could 
not be considered favorably by either 
General MacArthur or General Krueger, 

On li January Maj. Gen. Innis P. 
Swift, the I Corps commander, had con- 
cluded that he would soon have to com- 
mit most of his corps reserve, the 63d 
RCT, in the 43d Division's zone. The 
corps thereupon prepared to continue 
operations with but one battalion of the 



63d Infantry as a reserve. The 43d Divi- 
sion had already committed its entire 
strength and the 6th Division's remain- 
ing reserve was a battalion of the 20th 
Infantry. I!> The margin of safety was too 
small, especially in view of a possible 
Japanese counterattack. 

Accordingly, on the morning of 1 1 
January, General Krueger sent the 158th 
RCT of the Sixth Army Reserve ashore 
on the I Corps' left. Unloading just 
north of White Beach 1, the RCT dis- 
patched two infantry battalions up the 
coast road. One battalion relieved 173d 
Infantry elements along the road and the 
other pushed north to within a mile of 
Rabon, three miles beyond Alacan, and 
dug in to block any Japanese attack 
down the coastal highway. 20 

The commitment of the 158th and 
63d RCT's on I Corps left seemed ade- 
quate to thwart immediate Japanese 
threats from the north or northeast. The 
6th Division and the XIV Corps had not 
encountered sufficient opposition to war- 
rant their immediate reinforcement. 
Therefore General Krueger decided to 
hold his other major reserve unit, the 
25th Infantry Division, in reserve in the 
I Corps sector. The division began un- 
loading on the 11th and started moving 
inland to an assembly area between the 
Agoi and Patalan Rivers behind the 43d 
Division's right flank. 21 



'"Rad, Swift to Krueger, RM-79, ia Jan 45, Sixth 
Army G-g Jul File Luzon, 1 i_ig Jan 45; I Corps Rpt 
Luzon, p. 36; 43d Div G— 3 Jn], n Jan 45; 63d Inf 
Rpt Luzon, 9 Jan-go Jun 4;-,, p. 1; 20th Inf Rpt 
Luzon, p. 5. 

™ Sixth Army FO 34, 20 Nov 44; 158th Inf Rpt 
Daniortis-Rosario, 11 Jan-13 Feb 45, p. 1; 158th RCT 
S-g Jnl and Jnl Files, 11-12 Jan 45. 

!1 Sixth Army FO 34; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 20; 
Rad, Krueger to Swi£t, 10 Jan 45, Sixth Army 

G-3 Jnl File Luzon, g-i 1 Jan 45; 25th Inf Div Rpt 
Luzon, 17 Jan-30 Jun 45, pp. 7-9, 12—14. 



ESTABLISHING THE BEACHHEAD 



87 



The remaining elements of Sixth 
Army Reserve — the 6th Ranger Infantry 
Battalion and the 13th Armored Group 
— also came ashore. The 6th Ranger 
Battalion, landing over Blue Beaches on 
10 January, moved on the 11th to the 
Dagupan area, where it began preparing 
a perimeter defense at a site selected for 
Sixth Army headquarters. The 13th 
Armored Group unloaded on the nth 
and, less its 775th Tank Battalion, as- 
sembled at San Fabian. The 775th 
moved up the coast road to Alacan. 22 

The Situation: Evening S Plus 2 

As viewed from the vantage points of 
MacArthur's and Krueger's headquar- 
ters, three strikingly significant facts had 
emerged by the time the Sixth Army's 
reserve had begun to land. First, resist- 
ance to the initial penetrations had been 
surprisingly weak. Second, as expected, 
significant opposition was developing 
along the I Corps front from the north 
around to the southeast, and a threat of 
counterattack had arisen from the north 
and east. Third, further rapid advances 
would evidently overextcnd the Sixth 
Army's lines, exposing flanks beyond the 
limits of calculated risk. 



52 6th Ranger Inf Bn Upt, s Jan-i Jul 45, p. 2; 
13th Arnul Gp Rpt. Luzon, pp. 3-5, 10-12. 



So far, casualties had been far lower 
than anticipated. Operations ashore to 
dusk on the 1 1 th had cost the Sixth Army 
55 men killed and about 185 wounded, 
the 43d Division having lost the most 
men and the 37th Division the least. 
Most of the casualties had resulted from 
Japanese mortar and artillery fire rather 
than from close-in infantry action. Japa- 
nese casualties in ground operations had 
also been quite low; indications are that 
Sixth Army infantry had killed only 150- 
200 Japanese to evening on 1 1 January. 23 

At the end of the first three days of 
the campaign, then, the Sixth Army had 
seized a beachhead and, from a tactical 
point of view, had firmly established 
itself ashore. Plans for the next few days 
called for the XIV Corps to continue 
southward and secure crossings over the 
Agno River; the I Corps to continue to 
advance into what promised to be the 
center of Japanese resistance within the 
limits of the Army Beachhead Line. The 
major problem facing Sixth Army at 
dusk on 1 1 January was that of deter- 
mining the nature, location, and extent 
of the opposition developing on the left. 
Where were the Japanese and what were 
they planning to do? 



23 Casualty reporting during the first three clays of 
the Luzon Campaign was extremely spotty. The fig- 
ures given above arc derived from a mass of contra- 
dictory and incomplete U.S. Army sources. 



CHAPTER V 

The Enemy 



The Sixth Army's landing at Lingayen 
Gulf on g January had come as no stra- 
tegic surprise to General Tomoyuki 
Yamashita, commander of the Japanese 
14th Area Army in the Philippines. 1 The 
landing had achieved tactical surprise, for 
Yamashita had not expected the invasion 
for at least another two weeks, and 14th 
Area Army planners had not seriously 
considered the possibility that the Sixth 
Army would land its main strength 
across Lingayen Gulf's southern shores. 
But Yamashita knew an invasion was 
coming, expected it through Lingayen 
Gulf, and, ever since the invasion of 
Mindoro, had been redoubling his efforts 
to prepare for the inevitable. 

Japanese Strategy in the Philippines 

Originally, Japanese plans for the de- 
fense of the Philippines had envisaged 
that the decisive battle would be fought 

1 The general sources for most of this chapter are: 
Japanese Operations in the Southwest Pacific Area 
(vol. II of the g-volume SWPA Hist Series, prepared 
by G-s GHQ FEC) (hereinafter cited as SWPA Hist 
Series, II), pp. 281-86, 495-303, 310-11, 337-43, 
404-37; Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 5, 4th Air 
Army Opns, 1944-45, pp. G4-77; No. 6, 14th Area 
Army Plans, 1944, pp. 12-25, 28-37, 44-45! No. 8, 
14th Area Army Operations on Luzon, pp. 2-3, 6-40; 
No. ii, jjtft Army Operations, 1944-45, PP- 2 3— 34- 
114, 119, 127; No. 21, History of Southern Army, pp. 
61-70, 73-80, 83-84; No. 72, History of Army Section 
Imperial GHQ, pp. 123-27, 131—48, 153—61; Memoirs 
of Lt Gen Akira Muto (GofS 14th Area Army), in 
G-a GHQ FEC, Translations of Japanese Docu- 



on Luzon. 2 Air and naval forces might 
seek their Armageddon in the central or 
southern Philippines, but the 14th. Area 
Army would undertake only delaying 
actions there. 

The Allied invasion of the central 
Philippines at Leyte in October precipi- 
tated a switch, and the Japanese decided 
to fight it out on the ground at Leyte. 
Leyte turned into a graveyard of Japanese 
hopes. Their Navy suffered a shattering 
defeat; they lost hundreds of land-based 
and carrier-based aircraft, losses they 
could ill afford; they threw away ground 

merits (4 vols., hereinafter cited as Trans, copies in 
OCMH files), II, Item ao (hereinafter cited as Muto 
Memoirs), pp. 7-17, 22-24, 31. 

* In addition to the sources cited in note 1, this 
section is based on: United States Strategic Bombing 
Survey (Pacific), Naval Analysis Division, Interroga- 
tions of Japanese Officials (2 vols., Washington, 1946), 
II, 500-go, Interrog of Vice Adm Shigcru Fukudome 
(Comdr id Air Fleet); Interrog of Gen Yoshijiro 
Umezu (CofS Japanese Army), USSBS (Pacific), 
Interrog No. 488, copy in OCMH files; Maj Gen 
Yoshiharu Tomochika (CofS 35th Army), The True 
Facts of the Leyte Operation, passim, originally pub- 
lished in Japan in 1946, translated MS copy in 
OCMH Tiles; Statements of Maj Gen Toshio Nishi- 
mnra (an ACofS 14th Area Army), Stales, II, 677, 
687; Statement of Lt Gen Jo Iimura (CofS Southern 
Army), States, I, 540-41; Rpt of Joint Research by 
Gen Iimura, Lt Gen Shuichi Miyazaki (Chief Opns 
lie.pt Army Sec Imperial GttQ), Col Takushiro Hat- 
tori, Col Kazutsugu Sugita (both on Miyazaki's staff), 
States, II, 498-502; Before the Military Commission 
Convened by the United States Army Forces Western 
Pacific, United States of America versus Tomoyuki 
Yamashita, Public Trial (hereinafter cited as USA 
vs. Yamashita), pp. 3623-3665 (Yamashita testimony), 
p. 3007 (Muto testimony). 



THE ENEMY 



89 



reinforcements drained from China and 
Luzon; their loss of cargo ships and 
transports was irreplaceable. 3 

Yamashita had steadfastly opposed 
making Leyte a decisive battle area and, 
able tactician that he was, had concluded 
as early as the first week of November 
that Leyte was lost. At that time he had 
proposed to his immediate superior, 
Field Marshal Count Hisaichi Terauchi 
of Southern Army, that the Leyte fight 
be halted and efforts be concentrated 
upon preparing the defenses of Luzon. 
Terauchi turned deaf cars to this pro- 
posal as he did to a similar Yamashita 
plan in early December after an Allied 
force had landed on the west coast of 
Leyte, closing the 14th Area Army's 
principal port of entry on that island. 

Next, Yamashita viewed the Allied 
invasion of Mindoro as an event that pro- 
vided him with a welcome opportunity 
to cease his all but impossible efforts to 
reinforce Leyte. Calling off — apparently 
on his own initiative — a last reinforce- 
ment attempt, Yamashita again recom- 
mended to Count Terauchi that attention 
be turned to Luzon. The latter, having 
already forestalled Yamashita's earlier 
attempts to halt the fighting on Leyte, 
now directed the 14 th Area Army to 
prepare a counterattack against Mindoro. 

This Yamashita had no intention of 
doing. It was therefore with some uneasi- 
ness that he greeted Lt. Gen. Jo Iimura, 
the Chief of Staff of Southern Army, 
when the latter arrived at Manila from 
Saigon — site of Terauchi's headquarters 
— on 17 December. But Iimura, after 
talking to Yamashita, advised Terauchi 
that the 14th Area Army commander's 
recommendations ought to be followed. 



8 See Cannon, |Leyte.| 



On the igth, Terauchi finally ordered 
Yamashita to prepare the defenses of 
Luzon. The idea of sending strong rein- 
forcements to Mindoro was quietly 
dropped, and the Japanese 35th Army 
on Leyte was informed that it could ex- 
pect no more help. On 25 December 
Yamashita directed Lt. Gen. Sosaku 
Suzuki, 35th Army commander, to evac- 
uate his forces from Leyte as best he 
could and make preparations to defend 
the rest of the southern and central 
Philippines. 4 

Yamashita's planning problems were 
still not solved. On 21 December 
Lt. Gen. Shuichi Miyazaki, Chief of 
Operations, Army Section, Imperial Gen- 
eral Headquarters, reached Manila pre- 
pared to direct Yamashita to continue 
defensive efforts in the central Philip- 
pines and simultaneously ready the de- 
fenses of Luzon. After two days of con- 
ferences with Iimura, Yamashita, and 
the latter's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Akira 
Muto, Miyazaki also decided that 
Yamashita's plans had to be followed. 
Miyazaki concluded that no one in Tokyo 
had enough knowledge of the situation 
in the Philippines to overrule Yamash- 
ita, and he promised Yamashita to do 
his best to prevent any further inter- 
ference by Imperial General Headquar- 
ters with the conduct of operations on 
Luzon. Yamashita, belatedly, had his 
way. 5 

4 For sub sequent operatio ns of the }$th Army, see 
below, chs |XX\-XXXII. I 

5 Iimura returned to Saigon on 24 December and 
Miyazaki to Tokyo on the 25th. Apparently, Iimura's 
original mission had been to see to it that Yamashita 
followed Terauchi's instructions to the letter. If so, 
the mission must have been considered a failure by 
Terauchi. Perhaps only coincidcntally, Iimura im- 
mediately found himself with a new assignment — 
on 26 December he was given command of the almost 
defunct id Area Army in the Indies. 



90 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



The Japanese on Luzon 

During the first half of November 
Yamashita, while trying to convince 
Southern Army of the folly of continu- 
ing the fight on Leyte, had prepared a 
draft plan for the defense of Luzon. A 
realist, Yamashita knew that if it had 
not already done so, Imperial General 
Headquarters would soon write Luzon 
off as a strategic loss. He believed, there- 
fore, that operations on Luzon would 
have to be primarily defensive in charac- 
ter, and he knew that he could expect 
no reinforcements once an Allied inva- 
sion force reached the island. Neverthe- 
less, his November plans included 
provisions for a strong counterattack 
against an Allied landing force — a coun- 
terattack that would be executed only if 
expected supplies and equipment reached 
Luzon, if he could keep on the island 
three infantry divisions scheduled for 
shipment to Leyte, if he could obtain a 
modicum of air support, and if he could 
maintain the mobility of an armored 
division already on Luzon. 

The three infantry divisions reached 
Luzon, but two lost fully a third of their 
troops and equipment to Allied air or 
submarine action on the way; one RCT 
of the third division had to be left on 
Formosa for lack of shipping. Worse 
still, scheduled shipments of supplies 
and equipment never arrived, and stocks 
available on Luzon were inadequate for 
the forces already there. No air rein- 
forcements, Yamashita learned by mid- 
December, would be forthcoming. The 
Allies would be able to dominate the 
skies over Luzon and render the armored 
division immobile. 

By mid-December Yamashita had con- 
cluded that the only course open to him 



was a static defense. He intended to 
delay the conquest of Luzon as long as 
possible in order to pin down as many 
U.S. divisions as he could in the hope 
of slowing Allied advances toward Japan. 
He prepared to undertake his task with 
understrength, underfed, and under- 
equipped ground combat forces, the 
leadership and organization of which left 
much to be desired. 

Japanese Logistics 

Logistically, Yamashita faced the pro- 
verbial insoluble problems and insur- 
mountable obstacles. 7 First, supplies on 

'Japanese Studies in WW II, No, 6, 14th Area 
Army Plans, pp. 33-34, 50; No. 8, 14th Area Army 
Opns on Luzon, pp. 3—3, 24; Statement of General 
Tomoyuki Yamashita, States, IV, 500; Muto Memoirs, 
pp. 13-13; Nishimura Statement, States, II, 677-78; 
Shobu Gp (14 Area Army) Opns Dept. Outline of 
Operational Policy for Luzon, 19 Dee 44, andapps. 
I and II thereto, 20 Dec 44, Trans, III, pt. I, pp. 16- 
28. Colonel Volckmann, guerrilla leader in northern 
Luzon, believed on the basis of documents his men 
had captured from the Japanese that Yamashita had 
reached his decision for a static defense before the 
end of November. The November plans had called 
for operations primarily defensive in character, 
hedged by "if" provisions for a counterattack. The 
December plans left out even the "if" provisions for 
a counterattack. 

' Additional sources used for this subsection in- 
clude: Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 9, Luzon 
Operations of the Shimbu Group, pp. 4—5; No. 10, 
Operations of the Kembu Group, pp. 2, 5—6; Nishi- 
mura Statements, in States, 690-94; USA vs. Yama- 
shita, pp, 2999, 3014, 3027-28 (Muto); ibid., pp. 3540, 
35G6 (Yamashita); ibid., pp. 3013-14, 3219 (Lt Col 
Kikuo Ishikawa, Supply and TO 14th Area Army); 
ibid., p. 3190 (Maj Gen Goichi Kira, Intendance Off, 
14th Area Army); 10th Info and Hist Serv Hq Eighth 
Army, Staff Study of Japanese Operations on Luzon, 
Narrative of Col Ryoichiro Aoshima (Chief LofC Sec, 
14th Area Army), pp. 5-8, 12-13; Ultn Staff 
Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, Narrative of Col 
Shujiro Kobayashi (Opns Off 14th Area Army and 
Shimbu Gp), pp. 1-2; ibid., Narrative of Col Yasuji 
Okada (CofS Kembu Gp), p. 16; ibid., Narrative of 
Col Shigeo Kawai (Staff 2d Tank Div), pp. 4-5; ibid., 
Aoshima Interrog, p. 7. 



THE ENEMY 



91 



Luzon were insufficient to provide prop- 
erly for the 14th Area Army, and at the 
end of December General Muto, Yama- 
shita's chief of staff, reported that "sup- 
ply shortages had reached unexpected 
proportions." 8 Second, the Japanese 
transportation system was completely 
inadequate for the task at hand — mov- 
ing supplies from depots to defensive 
positions. Third, the system of supply 
control and distribution was chaotic until 
late December. 

Chief shortages were ammunition, 
demolitions, construction equipment of 
all sorts, medical supplies, communica- 
tions equipment and food. In brief, the 
14 Area Army was ill equipped for a 
long campaign. The food situation alone 
would soon bring that fact home sharply. 
Even before the end of 1944 food stocks 
in the Philippines had been inadequate 
to satisfy both Japanese and Filipino 
requirements. Rice had to be imported 
from Thailand and French Indochina, 
and much of the rice harvested on Luzon 
had been sent to Leyte, With increased 
Allied air and submarine activity in the 
South China Sea, imports were drastically 
reduced until, in December, not a single 
shipload of food reached Luzon. As 
early as mid-November the food short- 
age on Luzon had reached such propor- 
tions that the 14th Area Army had cut 
its ration from a daily three pounds to 
about nine-tenths of a pound. Before 
mid- January men in some units would 
be lucky to get as much as a half a 
pound a day. 

Many of Yamashita's supply problems 
stemmed directly from his transportation 
problems, for he found it impossible to 
move the supplies and equipment that 



8 Muto Memoirs, p. 13. 



were available, a condition resulting 
from many causes. For one thing, a 
Japanese infantry division had only 500 
organic vehicles — as compared with the 
2,125 in a U.S. Army division 9 — and 
none of the Japanese units on Luzon 
had its authorized number of vehicles. 
This shortage was compounded by a 
lack of fuel and lubricants. Moreover, 
the railroads on Luzon, never adequate 
for the scale of military operations en- 
visaged by the Allies and Japanese, had 
been allowed to fall into "a shocking 
state of disrepair" during the Japanese 
occupation. 10 

Allied land-based and carrier-based 
air attacks, combined with guerrilla 
sabotage operations, multiplied trans- 
portation problems a hundredfold. Brid- 
ges were destroyed, highways cratered, 
railroad beds and marshaling yards dam- 
aged, railroad rolling stock and engines 
knocked out, and trucks destroyed. By 
9 January the highways and railroads 
on Luzon, once the finest transportation 
network in the Pacific and Far East out- 
side Japan, were in such condition that 
the 14th Area Army could move only a 
trickle of essential supplies to defensive 
positions. 

Manila had long been the main sup- 
ply depot for Japanese forces in the Phil- 
ippines, the New Guinea area, and the 
Indies, and in June 1944 had also be- 
come the principal distribution and 
transshipment point for Southern Army 
supplies moving to Indochina and Ma- 
laya. As the main port of entry in the 
Philippines and the hub of Luzon's rail- 



* TM-E 30—480, Handbook on Japanese Military 
Forces, p. 23; FM 101-10, Staff Officers Field Manual: 
Organization, Technical, and Logistical Data, 1945, 
par. 121. 

10 Muto Memoirs, p. 13. 



92 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



road and highway network, Manila had 
also been the 14th Area Army's main 
supply point. Japanese naval forces op- 
erating in the Philippines and at points 
south had likewise stockpiled supplies 
and equipment there. 

No centralized logistical authority 
existed at Manila, and many of the sup- 
plies did not come under Yamashita's 
control until after 1 January 1945. As 
a depot, Manila must have presented a 
chaotic picture, so much so that General 
Muto, remembering the mess after the 
war, was prompted to state that the sup 
plies and equipment there "were piled 
in an unsystematic . . . helter-skelter 
way" and that there was "a lack of articles 
, . . required in the Philippines accom- 
panied by plenty . . . for which there 
was no use." 11 

Yamashita had no intention of defend- 
ing Manila. The efficacy of his defense 
of Luzon would therefore depend in 
large measure on how much of the 
65,000 to 70,000 metric tons of Army 
supplies stockpiled there he could move 
out of the city to defensive positions else- 
where before the Americans arrived. 
Early in December he had found to his 
dismay that with existing transportation 
it would take six months to move the 
entire stockpile. But he had to do what 
he could, and issued orders to remove 
approximately 13,000 metric tons of the 
most vital supplies to northern Luzon 
by mid-January. Because of the transpor- 
tation problem and Yamashita's lack of 
control over many commanders and 
units at Manila, only a little over 4,000 
metric tons of the Manila stockpiles had 
been redisposed to northern Luzon by 
9 January. 



11 USA vs. Yamashita, p, 2999 (Muto testimony). 



Command and Organization 

As if his logistic problems were not 
enough, Yamashita's gods had also pre- 
sented him with equally serious problems 
of command, organization, administra- 
tion, and morale. 12 Manila, for example, 
had long been cluttered with various 
headquarters, over many of which Yama- 
shita had no control. Indeed, until mid- 
November at least, less than half the 
troops on Luzon were under Yamashita's 
command. 13 

The senior headquarters in Manila 
until 17 November was that of Terau- 
chi's Southern Army. Directly under it, 
and all on the same level of command, 
were Yamashita's 14th Area Army, the 
4th Air Army under Lt. Gen. Kyoji 
Tominaga; and a logistical headquarters, 
the 3d Maritime Transport Command, 
under Maj. Gen. Masazumi Inada. Also 
in Manila were three important naval 
headquarters. The first two were the 
Southwest Area Fleet and its subordi- 
nate echelon, the 3d Southern Expedi- 
tionary Fleet, both commanded by Vice 
Adm. Denshichi Okochi, who controlled 
all Japanese naval forces in the Philip- 
pines and who was responsible only to 
naval headquarters in Tokyo. The third 
naval headquarters was the 31st Naval 
Special Base Force under Rear Adm. 
Sanji Iwabuchi, who reported to Okochi. 

In addition about 30,000 Army re- 
placements, who had been stranded on 
Luzon for lack of shipping, were sta- 



" Additional sources used in the preparation of this 
subsection are: USA vs. Yamashita, pp. 3524-86, 3655 
(Yamashita); ibid,, pp. 3001—02, 3008-09 (Muto); 
ibid., pp. 2533-36 (testimony of Vice Adm Denhichi 
Okoochi, more commonly Denshichi Okochi, Comdr 
Southwest Area Fleet); ibid., Defense Exhibit J, Org 
Chart prepa red by Muto. 

"See app. |C- t . I 



THE ENEMY 



93 



tioned at Manila. The city had also 
become a collection point for Army and 
Navy men discharged from hospitals or 
rescued from vessels sunk in nearby 
waters. Control over the heterogeneous 
collection was divided among Southern 
Army, Southwest Area Fleet, and 
Imperial General Headquarters. 

After mid-November steps were taken 
to bring order into this confusion of 
commands. Headquarters, Southern 
Army, moved to Saigon on 17 Novem- 
ber, taking with it Inada's 3d Maritime 
Transport Command headquarters. 14 
Early in December Army replacements 
and convalescents passed to Yamashita's 
control, and the 4th Air Army was 
placed under him on 1 January. On the 
6th Yamashita gained operational con- 
trol of shore-based naval troops, but it 
was not until mid-January that the serv- 
ice troops of the }d Maritime Transport 
Command passed to his command. 15 

His late assumption of control created 
many problems for Yamashita, whose 
opinion was: 

The source of command and co-ordina- 
tion within a command lies in trusting your 
subordinate commanders. Under the cir- 
cumstances, I was forced [to defend Luzon] 
with subordinates whom I did not know 
and with whose character and ability I was 
unfamiliar. 16 



"By this time Inada was an "evacuation expert." 
He had arrived in western New Guinea in late 1943 
to assume command of a supply organization there; 
went to Hollandia to take command of the 6th Air 
Division in April 1944; made his way westward over- 
land to the Wakde-Sarmi area after the Allied inva- 
sion of Hollandia, arriving shortly after the Allied 
landings near Sarmi on 17 May; again escaping, went 
to the Philippines; moved to Saigon in November; 
and wound up to survive the war as a ground com- 
mander in Japan p roper. 

" See app | C-2. | 

14 USA vs. Yamashita, p. 3655 (Yamashita). 



For example, Yamashita had trouble 
with General Tominaga and the 4th Air 
Army from the first. Before the air unit 
passed to Yamashita's control, Tominaga 
had provided no help in preparing de- 
fenses outside Manila. Instead, Tomin- 
aga worked on readying defenses of the 
city and environs, for he felt that the 
defense of Luzon would be meaningless 
if Manila were abandoned without a 
fight. It was not until he passed to 
Yamashita's control that Tominaga 
moved his headquarters and thousands 
of his troops out of the city. 

The bulk of the units Yamashita com- 
manded on Luzon could by no means 
be fitted into the category of first-class 
combat organizations. Divisions recently 
formed from former garrison units were 
badly organized, ill equipped, poorly 
officered, and miserably trained. In even 
worse state were the multitude of provi- 
sional infantry and artillery units that 
the Japanese organized on Luzon from 
the Manila replacements, ship survivors, 
convalescents, and, in some cases, Japa- 
nese civilians stranded in the Philip- 
pines. Even the regular units were in 
poor shape, many having suffered morale- 
shattering losses of men and equipment 
on their way to Luzon. The 23d Divi- 
sion, for instance, had lost its chief of 
staff, most of the other officers of divi- 
sion headquarters, and fully a third of its 
men. The 10th Division had suffered 
similarly, while only two-thirds of the 
19th Division reached Luzon from For- 
mosa before the Allied invasion put an 
end to further shipments. 

Yet Yamashita had a respectable force, 
and one that was far stronger than Gen- 
eral Willoughby, MacArthur's intelli- 
gence chief, had estimated. Instead of the 
152,500 troops of Willoughby's estimate, 



94 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Yamashita actually had nearly 275,000 
men. 17 Willoughby, of course, could not 
know exactly what Yamashita planned 
to do with these troops; he did not 
anticipate an essentially static defense. 

The General Defense Plan 

Yamashita knew that within the frame- 
work of his plan for a protracted delay- 
ing action on Luzon he had no hope of 
defending all the island. 18 He had 
neither the troops nor the equipment 
to do so, and the terrain in many places 
would not provide him with desired 
natural defensive positions or access to 
significant food-producing areas. Thus, 
he felt he could not defend the vital 
Central Plains-Manila Bay region against 
the superiority he knew MacArthur could 
and would bring to bear. Yamashita, 
therefore, did not intend to copy Mac- 
Arthur's example of 1941-42 and with- 
draw into Bataan, which the 14th Area 
Army commander considered a cul-de- 
sac. On that relatively small peninsula, 
scarcely twenty by thirty miles in area, 
Yamashita's 275,000 troops could not 
hope to find food, and, concentrated in 
such a limited area, would quickly be 



IT General Willoughby did not change his estimate 
of Japanese strength significantly until the campaign 
was nearly over. 

18 In addition to relevant documents cited in note I, 
this subsection is based on: 14th Area Army Opns 
Orders, Trans, III, pt. Ill, Item 3, pp. 8-18; Nishi- 
mura Statement, States, II, 691—92; Yamashita State- 
ment, States, II, 497; Statement of Col Kenichiro 
Asano (CofS 8th Division and ACofS Shimbu Op), 
States, 1, 90—92; USAws. Yamashita, pp, 2536-38 (Oko- 
chi testimony); ibid., pp. 3527-28 (Yamashita); Japa- 
nese Studies in WW II, No. 9, Luzon Opns of the 
Shimbu Cp, pp. 1-5; No. 10, Opns of the Kembu Gp, 
pp. 1-6; 14th Area Army Home Organization Board 
(a sort of veterans group), 14th Area Army Tr Org 
List (prepared in Japan, Dec 46), trans in OCMH 
files. 



cut to pieces by the superior air, naval, 
and artillery fire power available to 
MacArthur. By the same token, Yama- 
shita had decided to leave undefended 
the southern shores of Lingayen Gulf, 
for he had concluded that the terrain 
there would make futile any attempt to 
hold that ground. 

Having decided to abandon the Cen- 
tral Plains-Manila Bay region, Yamashita 
concentrated his forces in three moun- 
tainous strongholds that, he felt, the 
Allies could overrun only at the cost of 
many lives and much time. Only minor 
delaying actions, by isolated garrisons, 
would be undertaken at other points on 
Luzon. 

The strongest and most important of 
the defense sectors covered all Luzon 
northeast and east of Lingayen Gulf. 



{Map 3) Included within this sector 
was the mountainous region east and 
northeast of the gulf as well as the fertile 
Cagayan Valley, ranking only second to 
the Central Plains as a food-producing 
area of the Philippines. To defend this 
northern stronghold Yamashita formed 
the Shobu Group, a force he retained 
under his direct command. Headquar- 
ters of the Shobu Group — identical with 
Headquarters, 14th Area Army — was 
located at Baguio, the cool and beautiful 
Philippine summer resort city, which lay 
about 5,000 feet up in the mountains 
and about twenty-five miles northeast of 
San Fabian on Lingayen Gulf. 10 

The Shobu Group numbered around 
152,000 troops. Its major units were four 
infantry divisions (the ioth, igth, 23d, 

"SHOBU was the code name for the 14th Area 
Army as well as the name of the northern defense 
group. In Japanese plans, orders, and reports, the 
distinction between the group and the army is some- 
times elusive, but in this narrative the term Shobu 
Croup is reserved for the northern defense sector. 




THE ENEMY ON LUZON 

II JofHjary 1946 




MAPS 



96 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



and ro%d), the 2d Tank Division (less 
most of the 2d Mobile Infantry and 
other elements), and the 58th Independ- 
ent Mixed Brigade (about half the size 
of a Japanese infantry division) . 20 The 
rest of the group included various 4th 
Air Army units, miscellaneous small 
combat and service organizations, and 
many provisional units of all types. The 
Shobu Group's principal missions were 
to prevent an Allied landing on the 
west coast of Luzon north of Lingayen 
Gulf, threaten the left flank of Sixth 
Army forces moving south through the 
Central Plains, deny the Americans ac- 
cess to the Cagayan Valley from the 
south, and, finally, conduct a protracted 
defense of the rugged, mountainous 
terrain it held. 

The second defensive groupment 
Yamashita located in mountain country 
on the west side of the Central Plains 
overlooking the Clark Field area. This 
force, designated Kembu Group, was to 
deny to the Allies the use of the Clark 
Field air center as long as possible, 
threaten the right flank of Allied units 
moving down the Central Plains, and, 
when forced back from Clark Field, exe- 
cute delaying operations in the Zambales 
Mountains, to the west of the air base. 

Until late December the Kembu area 
was under the command of Lt. Gen. 
Yoshiharu Iwanaka, 2d Tank Division 
commander, who supervised the efforts 

M The 61st 1MB, stationed on the Batan and Babu- 
yan Islands off northern Luzon, was nominally part 
of the Shobu Group but is not included in the fore- 
going totals. The unit remained unmolested on its 
islands until the end of the war, playing no part in 
the Luzon Campaign. Of the total of some 150,000 
in the Shobu Croup, about 140,000 were in uniform 
as of 9 January. The remainder consisted of civilian 
government and military employees, many of whom 
were drafted into the service before the campaign 
was over. 



of naval troops and part of his division 
to make defensive preparations. When 
on 1 January 4th Air Army passed to 
Yamashita's control, he ordered General 
Tominaga to set troops to work in the 
Kembu region, but left the group tem- 
porarily under Iwanaka's command, hav- 
ing some idea of moving the entire 2d 
Tank Division to the Clark Field area. 
The Allies reached Luzon before the 
2d Tank Division could concentrate in 
the Kembu area, and Yamashita then 
placed the group under the command of 
Maj. Gen. Rikichi Tsukada, who also 
commanded the 1st Raiding Group, an 
airborne infantry unit previously con- 
trolled by 4th Air Army. Tominaga's 
4th Air Army headquarters moved dur- 
ing the first week of January from Ma- 
nila to Echague, in the north-central 
part of the Cagayan Valley. 

Of the 30,000 men of Kembu Group, 
about half were naval airfield engineers, 
ground crews, antiaircraft units, and 
some ground combat organizations, all 
under Rear Adm. Ushie Sugimoto, the 
commander of the planeless 26th Air 
Flotilla. In addition to these troops and 
Tsukada's rst Raiding Group, Kembu 
Group contained the id Mobile Infantry 
(less one battalion) , a tank company, 
and other detachments from the 2d 
Tank Division; some field and antiair- 
craft artillery organizations; and a het- 
erogeneous collection of service units 
from 4th Air Army. 

The third major Japanese force was 
the Shimbu Group, under Lt. Gen. 
Shizuo Yokoyama, who also commanded 
the 8th Division. 21 While responsible 



21 The staffs of Shimbu Group and Stk Division 
headquarters were somewhat different, although 
many officers served on both. 



THE ENEMY 



97 



for defending all southern Luzon, Gen- 
eral Yokoyama was to concentrate his 
main strength in the mountains east and 
northeast of Manila. Yamashita ordered 
him not to defend the capital, but to 
keep troops there only long enough to 
cover the evacuation of supplies and 
delay the Allies by destroying important 
bridges. In the mountains east of the 
city, Yokoyama would control the dams 
and reservoirs that supplied Manila's 
water. His 80,000 men included the 
8 th Division (less the 5 th Infantry, on 
Leyte), the 105th Division, various Army 
service and minor combat units, and 
some 20,000 naval troops under Admiral 
Iwabuchi of the 31st Naval Special Base 
Force. 

In southwestern Luzon, Yokoyama 
stationed a reinforced infantry regiment 
from the 8th Division. A naval guard 
unit and miscellaneous 4th Air Army 
service organizations armed as auxiliary 
infantry held the Bicol Peninsula of 
southeastern Luzon, which was also in 
Yokoyama's sector. Many Japanese 
Army suicide boat units, whose mem- 
bers were ultimately to fight as infantry 
under Shimbu Group control, were sta- 
tioned at various points along Luzon's 
southwestern and southern coasts. 22 

Dispositions in Northern Luzon 
The Shobu Group 

The first Japanese to establish contact 
with the Sixth Army were members of 



** Further information on disposi tions in s outhern 
Luzon is to be found in Chapters |xil l and |XXIIlJ 
while material on the deployment of the main body 
of the Shimbu Group is set forth in Chapters |XXt | 
and | XXHj 



the Shobu Group. 23 In late December 
1944 that group had been disposing it- 
self in what Yamashita intended to make 
his principal forward defenses in north- 
ern Luzon. The final defensive area, 
into which the Shobu Group would ulti- 
mately withdraw, formed a near-isosceles 
triangle in high, rugged mountains of 
that section of northern Luzon lying 
west of the Cagayan Valley. The south- 
western anchor of the triangle was 
Baguio, whence the base line ran almost 
due east thirty-five miles to Bambang, 
located on Route 5 north of the exits of 
the mountain passes leading from the 
Cagayan Valley to the northeastern cor- 
ner of the Central Plains. The apex of 
the triangle was Bon toe, at the junction 
of Routes 4 and 11 some fifty miles 
northeast of Baguio. 

A basic tenet of Yamashita's plan for 
the defense of northern Luzon was to 
hold the approaches to the Cagayan Val- 
ley until that region could be stripped of 
foodstuffs and military supplies for the 
triangular redoubt. Yamashita expected 
that once the Sixth Army had secured 
the Central Plains-Manila Bay area it 
would strike his defensive triangle from 
the south, possibly making its main ef- 
fort an attack into the Cagayan Valley 
via the Bambang approach. Yamashita 
had to hold the southern approaches to 
the triangle to keep open his supply lines 
from Manila and to maintain his line of 
communications to the Shimbu Group, 

** The general sources for this section are: SWPA 
Hist Series, II, Japanese Opns in the SWPA, 418-25, 
430-37; Japanese Studies in WW II, No, 8, 14th Area 
Army Opns on Luzon (hereafter cited as 14th Area 
Army Opns on Luzon), 6-15, 26_a8, 36-40; 10th I&H 
Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, Aoshima Nar- 
rative, pp. 3-4, 7-10, and atchd Maps Nos. 1 and 2; 
Statement of Maj Gen Haruo Konuma (Vice CofS 
14th Area Army), States, II, 300-302, 305-09, 327-30; 
14th Area Army Tr Org List. 



98 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



much of which he might transfer to the 
Shobu Group sector if time permitted. 

The focal point for the defense of the 
southern approaches to the Cagayan Val- 
ley was San Jose, forty-five miles south- 
east of San Fabian and nearly the same 
distance south of Bambang. Situated at 
the end of one branch of the Manila Rail- 
road, San Jose was also the site of the 
junction of Routes 5, 8, and 96. Route 
5 led north to Bambang through Balete 
Pass and south from San Jose toward 
Manila along the eastern side of the Cen- 
tral Plains. Route 8 led northwest from 
San Jose toward Lingayen Gulf. Route 
96 went southeast toward the east coast 
of Luzon. 

San Jose was the main transshipment 
point for supplies going north from 
Manila or being moved out of Central 
Plains depots to the Shobu Group. Some 
supplies from December sailings to west 
coast ports such as San Fernando, La 
Union, were also reassembled at San 
Jose. During late December an average 
of 600 metric tons of all types of supplies 
and equipment, including most of the 
materiel from Manila, came into San 
Jose each day, much of it by rail. There, 
supplies were transferred to trucks or 
hand-carrying parties for further move- 
ment north along Route 5. So long as 
Yamashita could hold San Jose and con- 
trol Route 5, he could continue to ship 
supplies north into the Shobu defensive 
triangle. Without San Jose, the group 
would be cut off from its principal 
sources of military supplies and equip- 
ment, and would have to rely on food 
and other supplies it could move out of 
the Cagayan Valley. Baguio became 
Shobu Group's most important second- 
ary supply point. Yamashita planned to 
assemble there the many tons of supplies 



stockpiled at various west coast points 
during November and December. 

From the first Yamashita realized that 
a glaring weakness in all his plans for 
the defense of northern Luzon was the 
absence of a good overland link between 
Baguio and Bambang. He urgently 
needed a road between the two towns 
not only to move troops rapidly between 
the two fronts but also to transport sup- 
plies to Baguio from the Cagayan Valley 
and from the stockpiles being established 
along Route 5 north of San Jose. Ac- 
cordingly, Yamashita began construction 
late in December or early in January. 
The supply road swung east off Route 
1 1 at a point about ten miles northeast 
of Baguio, and followed a narrow pre- 
war mining and logging road — until 
then suitable only for light traffic — for 
the first ten or fifteen miles eastward. 
Then it swung east-southeast through 
the Caraballo Range, following a graded 
horse trail that American forces had con- 
structed before the war, to Route 5 at 
Aritao, ten miles south of Bambang. By 
early February, the Shobu Group, using 
hand-carrying parties along much of the 
route, was able to move about a ton of 
supplies west along the improved road 
each day. It was mid-April before the 
whole road was open to trucks. 

While Yamashita deployed a consid- 
erable portion of his strength in posi- 
tions to defend the approaches to San 
Jose and the Bambang anchor of the 
defensive triangle, he did not neglect 
the other approaches to the triangular 
redoubt and the Cagayan Valley. He as- 
signed responsibility for holding the 
Cagayan Valley and the north and north- 
western coasts of Luzon to the 103d 
Division, to which he attached an under- 
strength regiment of the 10th Division. 



THE ENEMY 



99 



The 23d Division, with the 58th Inde- 
pendent Mixed Brigade (1MB) attached, 
held the west coast from Alacan north 
sixty-five miles, and was also responsible 
for defending the approaches to Bagnio 
from the south and west. 24 The 58th 
1MB had some troops as far north as San 
Fernando, but its main strength was con- 
centrated along the coastal hills from 
Alacan north twenty miles to Aringay. 
Yamashita intended to deploy the 23d 
Division along an arc of high ground 
defenses running generally southeast 
from Alacan across Hill 200 and on an- 
other ten miles to the Cabaruan Hills, 
which controlled the Route 3 crossing 
over the Agno River. If they could not 
hold their assigned sectors, the 2^d Divi- 
sion and the 58th 1MB would fall back 
on Baguio, delaying along successive 
defensive lines. 

The 23 d Division had stationed an in- 
fantry battalion along the southwestern 
shore of Lingayen Gulf and had directed 
the battalion to delay an American drive 
down the west side of the Central Plains. 
A reconnaissance unit from the same 
division, with orders to withdraw with- 
out offering any resistance, was deployed 
along the gulf's southern shores, but had 
sped southward after the infantry bat- 
talion when ships of the Allied Naval 
Forces had begun preassault bombard- 
ment. It had been principally stragglers 
from these two ${d Division organiza- 
tions that the XIV Corps and the 6th 
Division of I Corps had encountered on 
9, 10, and 11 January. 



"Additional information on the 23d Division and 
the 58th 1MB is from: Statements of Maj Gen Runzo 
Sato (CG 5S//Z 1MB), States, II, 2.53-54, 259-62; State- 
ment o£ Col Masaichi Takahashj (Staff 23d Div), 
States, IV, 42-43. 



In early January, the 10th Division, 
less the bulk of two infantry regiments, 
was responsible for the defense of San 
Jose. One regiment, less a battalion, was 
in the Bambang area attached to the 103d 
Division, and another, also minus a bat- 
talion, was far to the southwest on 
Bataan Peninsula. The division was, 
however, reinforced by the Tsuda De- 
tachment, an understrength regimental 
combat team of the 26th Division. 2n 
Stationed at Dingalen and Baler Bays on 
Luzon's east coast, Tsuda Detachment 
was to make a fighting withdrawal to the 
Central Plains in the event of an Ameri- 
can landing on the east coast. Ultimately, 
both the 10th Division and the Tsuda De- 
tachment would defend Route 5 through 
Balete Pass and secure the Bambang an- 
chor of Yamashita's final defense triangle. 

When the Sixth Army landed at Lin- 
gayen Gulf the 19th Division was at 
Naguilian, on Route 9 between Baguio 
and the west coast town of Bauang, seven 
miles south of San Fernando. 20 Yam- 
ashita planned to move the 19th Division 
to a reserve position at San Leon, on 
Route 8 twenty miles northwest of San 
Jose. The 2d Tank Division (less most 
of its 3d Mobile Infantry) was in the 
southern part of the Central Plains, 
strung out along Route 5 south of San 
Jose. 27 It was to defend against Ameri- 



™ The Tsuda Detachment contained the nth Inde- 
pendent Infantry Regiment (less 2d Battalion) of the 
26th Division, a battery of medium artillery, and 
miscellaneous service troops, all under Col. Tsukaila 
Tsuda. The rest of the 26th Division was on Leyte. 

M Additional information on the 19th Division 
comes from: Statement of Lt Gen Yoshiharu Ozaki 
(CG 19th Div), in States, III, 177; Nishimuia State- 
ment, States, II, 677-80. 

" Additional information on the sd Tank Division 
is from Statement of Col Shigeo Kawai (Staff 2d 
Tank Div), States, II, 145-49. 



100 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



can parachute landings in the Central 
Plains, hold itself mobile for a possible 
counterattack, prepare to withdraw up 
Route 5 into the Cagayan Valley, and be 
ready to move west across the Central 
Plains to the Kembu area. 

The Effect of the Invasion 

When on 6 January Allied Naval 
Forces' vessels started bombarding San 
Fernando and environs, Yamashita began 
to fear an imminent assault at the port 
city. Such an invasion, coming north of 
the 58th IMB's concentration, would en- 
danger the security of Route 9 to Baguio, 
especially if the igth Division were to 
deploy southward as planned. Quickly, 
Yamashita changed his plans for the rpth 
Division and directed the division com- 
mander, Lt, Gen. Yoshiharu Ozaki, to 
hold the coastal sector from Bauang north 
forty miles — an area previously assigned 
to the •ySth 1MB — and to maintain con- 
siderable strength at Naguilian to defend 
Route 9. The change in plans was not 
drastic. As a result of Allied air attacks 
and guerrilla operations, and because of 
the prevailing opinion within r^th Area 
Army that no American landings would 
occur before mid-January, the rgth Divi- 
sion had hardly started redeploying 
toward San Leon when its new orders 
arrived. The division had only to stay 
where it was to execute Yamashita's 
directive. 

But the change upset Yamashita's 
plans for strengthening Shobu Group's 
southern flank and the approaches to 
San Jose and Bambang. He accordingly 
decided to organize four defense lines in 
front of San Jose and Bambang, employ- 
ing the 2d Tank Division in a new role. 
The first line, the 2 jd Division's Alacan- 



Cabaruan Hills arc, presumably already 
in existence, would now be considered 
an outpost line of resistance behind 
which three new lines would be estab- 
lished. Yamashita decided that to gain 
time for the construction of the three 
new lines, he would have to strengthen 
the outer arc. Therefore he ordered the 
2d Tank Division's Shigemi Detachment, 
roughly comparable to a combat com- 
mand of an American armored division, 
to move from its concentration point on 
Route 5 south of San Jose and take sta- 
tion at the road junction town of Ur- 
daneta, on Route 3 north of the Cabaruan 
Hills. 28 Part of the detachment was to 
move on to reinforce 23d Division out- 
posts at Binalonan, five miles north along 
Route 3 from Urdaneta. 

Since many of the bridges along the 
main roads to Urdaneta had been de- 
stroyed, and since guerrilla and Allied 
air operations impeded movement over 
these roads, the Shigemi Detachment had 
to displace by night marches over sec- 
ondary roads, approaching Urdaneta and 
Binalonan from the northeast. Dawn on 
9 January found the detachment at San 
Manuel, five miles east of Binalonan. 

Having decided that the road and 
bridge destruction would make it impos- 
sible for the 2d Tank Division to move 
across the Central Plains to the Kembu 
area, Yamashita now planned to move 
the rest of the division northeast behind 



a The Shigemi Detachment was named after Maj. 
Gen. Isao Shigemi, also the commander of the jd 
Tank Brigade, 2d Tank Division. It consisted of the 
yth Tank Regiment, a battalion (less elements) of 
the id Mobile Infantry, and miscellaneous reinforc- 
ing elements. The 7th Tank Regiment had taken 
part in the Philippine Islands Campaign of 1941— \z, 
hut had apparently been completely reconstituted 
since then. 



THE ENEMY 



101 



the Shigemi Detachment. 2 * The division 
(less the Shigemi Detachment and the 
2d Mobile Infantry) would concentrate 
on the Agno near Tayug, six miles south- 
east of San Manuel. Here, the armored 
unit was to make ready to counterattack 
or, conversely, to defend a mean track 
known as the Villa Verde Trail, which 
wound north and east over rough moun- 
tains from the vicinity of Tayug to join 
Route 5 north of Balete Pass. 

During the first days following Sixth 
Army's landings, many Shobu Group 
staff officers, dismayed by the American 
progress inland as well as by the increas- 
ingly adverse effect of Allied air and 
guerrilla operations on Shobu Group 
supply movements, implored Yamashita 
to mount an all-out counterattack, em- 
ploying the 2d Tank Division as a 
spearhead. Such an attack, Yamashita's 
subordinates suggested, would gain val- 
uable time to move supplies into the 
triangular redoubt. Even if only tem- 
porarily successful, the attack might pro- 
vide Shobu Group with an opportunity 
to capture American supplies and move 
them into the mountains. But 
Yamashita concluded that Sixth Army 
was deploying great strength so slowly 
and cautiously that no situation favora- 
ble for a Japanese counterattack could 
arise in the near future. Furthermore, 
other staff officers advised him that he 2d 
Tank Division's fuel situation, combined 
with the condition of roads and bridges 
in the Central Plains, would make it 
impossible for the division to mount 

*• Actually, the destruction was great enough to 
forestall the division's move westward by about 25 
December, while Yamashita did not cancel plans to 
move the unit to the Kembu area until 9 January. 
The delay in issuing the cancellation order probably 
provides a bleak commentary on the state of Japa- 
nese communications on Luzon. 



a cohesive counterattack. Yamashita felt 
that the only result would be the quick 
decimation of his armored strength and, 
envisaging an essentially defensive role 
for the entire Shobu Group, refused to 
risk any important elements of the group 
in a counterattack. 

As one consequence of this decision, 
Yamashita committed the 2d Tank Divi- 
sion, still minus the Shigemi Detachment 
and most of the 2d Mobile Infantry, to 
the first of the three new defense lines in 
front of San Jose and Bambang. On 11 
January he directed the division to con- 
centrate at Lupao, on Route 8 nine miles 
northwest of San Jose, and to extend its 
left southeast to Munoz, on Route 5 
south of San Jose. Here, the division 
could better plug a gap between the roth 
and 23d Divisions' existing lines than 
would be possible if the unit were to 
move to Tayug, as Yamashita had di- 
rected only two days earlier. Moreover, 
the new deployment would bring strong 
defensive forces closer to San Jose and 
thus help forestall envelopment of that 
town from the west or south. 

The responsibility for holding the sec- 
ond of the three new lines Yamashita 
assigned to the 10th Division which, 
with the arrival of the 2d Tank Division 
from the south, could redeploy some of 
its strength away from San Jose. On the 
northwest the second line was virtually 
an extension of the first, and stretched 
from Lupao to Tayug and the entrance 
to the Villa Verde Trail. The south- 
eastern section of the second line 
stretched from San Jose southeast twenty- 
five miles to Bongabon, junction of the 
roads to Baler and Dingalen Bays on the 
east coast. The Tsuda Detachment, now 
directed to withdraw inland from the 
bays, would defend this section of the 



102 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



second line to help prevent the out- 
flanking of San Jose from the south and 
southeast. 

Yamashita realized that his forces 
would be unable to hold out indefinitely 
in the relatively flat, open land in front 
of San Jose and that, accordingly, he 
would require a line in better defensive 
terrain along the approaches to the Bam- 
bang anchor of his triangle. Thus, the 
third new line of defenses he established 
in early January lay across Route 5 in 
the mountains some twenty miles north 
of San Jose and about seven miles south 
of Balete Pass. Responsibility for hold- 
ing this third line was initially vested in 
the 10th Division, but Yamashita knew 
that, with the missions he had already 
assigned it, the unit would not have 
enough strength to defend the line. 
Therefore, on 8 January, he directed the 
105 th Division of Shimbu Group to start 
north from its positions east of Manila 
to deploy along the new Route 5 defen- 
sive line. The division's first echelon 
was composed of division headquarters, 
five infantry battalions, and an under- 
strength artillery battalion. Indications 
are that Yamashita expected to have 
plenty of time to move the rest of the 
105th Division northward, and that he 
may also have planned to bring north 
much of the 8th Division, leaving Shimbu 
Group only provisional Army units and 
the naval forces. 80 



w At least initially, the redeployment of the 105th 
Division was apparently partially intended as a means 
of permitting the id Tank Division to move to the 
Kembu area. But plans to move the tank division 
west were canceled the day after Yamashita issued 
the movement orders to the 105th Division, without 
a concomitant cancellation of 105th Division orders. 
Therefore, it appears that Yamashita intended to 
move the 105th Division north to the Shobu area no 
matter where the 2d Tank Division was ultimately 
deployed. Hints that Yamashita planned to bring 



As of 11 January the 105th Division's 
advance elements had barely started their 
trek northward. The 2d Tank Division's 
Shigemi Detachment was at San Manuel 
and had passed to the control of the 23d 
Division. Another combat command of 
the 2d Tank Division, the Ida Detach- 
ment, was still strung out along Route 
5 twenty-five to thirty miles south of San 
Jose. The rest of the division, which was 
composed of division headquarters, divi- 
sion troops, the 10th Tank Regiment, 
and a battalion each from the 2d Mobile 
Infantry and the 2d Mobile Artillery 
Regiments, was moving into position 
along Route 8 northwest of San Jose. 31 

On 1 1 January the 2 3d Division and 
the 58th 1MB held excellent defensive 
positions in the area east and north of 
Alacan on Lingayen Gulf, but the 23d 
Division's outer arc of defenses from 
Alacan to the Cabaruan Hills was weakly 
garrisoned. On its own initiative the 
division had decided that the Alacan- 
Cabaruan line would prove indefensible 
if American forces landed substantial 
strength over Lingayen Gulf's southern 
shores and swung thence generally south- 
eastward. Therefore, the division had 
prepared its principal defenses in higher 



the 8th Division north are more elusive, although 
the move would have been logical in the context of 
his plan to make his principal stand in northern 
Luzon. A thesis that Yamashita may have intended 
to denude the Shimbu Croup of its regular Army 
combat units is supported by the fact that just one 
tank regiment of the 2d Tank Division held defensive 
positions in the Shimbu area until the end of the 
first week of January. 

81 The Ida Detachment was named after Col. Kum- 
pei Ida, the commander of the 6th Tank Regiment, 
around which the detachment was built. The de- 
tachment had previously held defenses at Ipo Dam, 
in the Manila watershed area, under Shimbu Group 
control. The 10th Tank Regiment was commanded 
by Col. Kazuo Harada. 



THE ENEMY 



103 



terrain east of the Alacan-Cabaruan line, 
disposing most of its strength in rising 
ground east of Route 3 from Sison, about 
seven miles inland from Alacan, south 
and southeast ten miles to Binalonan and 
San Manuel. 

General Muto, Yamashita's chief of 
staff, had discovered this unauthorized 
redeployment during an inspection tour 
on 5 January. Muto agreed that the 23d 
Division could not hold back a concerted 
American drive southeast from Lingayen 
Gulf, but he was alarmed at the prospect 
that the Sixth Army, encountering no 
substantial defenses in the region west of 



Route 3, would be able to initiate a 
drive toward San Jose far sooner than 
anticipated, thereby upsetting all 
Yamashita's plans. Muto therefore di- 
rected the 23d Division to reinforce its 
Alacan-Cabaruan Hills line forthwith. 
Obviously in no hurry to comply with 
these orders, the 23d Division, by 1 1 Jan- 
uary, had sent forward from its Sison- 
Binalonan-San Manuel positions only 
one infantry company and half a battery 
of artillery. As the division would soon 
learn, further opportunities to strengthen 
the Alacan-Cabaruan Hills arc had 
passed. 



CHAPTER VI 



Expanding the Hold 



/ Corps Meets the Enemy 

By evening of 1 1 January, I Corps' 
center and right flank units were well 
into the 23d Divisions weakly held arc 
of forward defenses. 1 Simultaneously, 
the corps' left was preparing to drive 
north toward the Damortis-Rosario road, 
in the 58th IMB's sector. 

The Attack on the Left 

The Damortis-Rosario road, a two- 
lane, concrete-paved section of Route 3, 
led east from the junction of Route 3 
and the coast road at Damortis, about 
eight miles north of San Fabian, to the 
junction of Routes 3 and 1 1, eight miles 
inla nd and a mile east of Rosario. (Map 
II) I Seizure of the Damortis-Rosario 
stretch of Route 3 would present I Corps 
with an easy means of access to Route 1 1, 
in turn providing a two-lane asphalt- 
paved axis of advance toward Baguio 
along the deep valley of the Bued River. 
Equally important, if the I Corps could 
quickly gain control over the Damortis- 
Rosario road and the Routes 3-1 1 junc- 
tion, the corps could largely overcome 



1 The general American sources for this section 
and its subsections are: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 
19-23; I Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 28-34; 43d Div Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 8-12; 43d Div G-3 Per Rpts, 12-18 Jan 
45; 43d Div G-3 Jnl Luzon, 12-18 Jan 45. 



the threat of counterattack against the 
Sixth Army's beachhead from the north 
and northeast. With the security of its 
left rear thus assured, the XIV Corps 
could speed its drive toward the Sixth 
Army's principal objective area, the 
Central Plains-Manila Bay region. 

The Damortis - Rosario road ran 
sometimes across wooded ravines and 
sometimes over ridge tops for three- 
quarters of the way to Rosario, and then 
continued across open farm land and 
through Rosario to a junction with Route 
1 1 . The road was dominated by broken 
ridges and steep-sided hills to both the 
north and the south for the first five 
miles inland. South of the road the hills 
and ridges were grass-covered; to the 
north many of the draws and ravines 
contained thick scrub growth. Bare, 
steep heights north, northeast, and east 
of Rosario controlled the Routes 3-11 
junction. The 58th 1MB, defending 
the Damortis-Rosario road, had all the 
advantages of observation, while the rela- 
tively soft rock and dirt mixture of the 
hills and ridges gave the brigade ample 
opportunity to indulge in what was soon 
to appear to the I Corps as the Japanese 
Army's favorite occupation — digging 
caves and tunnels. 

Numbering about 6,900 men, the 58th 
1MB was composed of five independent 
infantry battalions of some 900 men each, 
a battalion of fifteen 75-mm. mountain 



EXPANDING THE HOLD 



105 



guns, and brigade service troops. 2 At- 
tachments included three heavy artillery 
units totaling nearly 2,150 men with 
twelve artillery pieces ranging in caliber 
from 150-mm. to 300-mm. By coinci- 
dence, one of the first I Corps units to 
gain firm contact with the j8th 1MB was 
a correspondingly separate nondivisional 
organization, the 158th RCT. This unit, 
with about 4,500 men, was organized 
into three infantry battalions, a 12- 
weapon battalion of 105-mm. howitzers, 
and regimental troops. The RCT would 
have additional fire support from CVE- 
based planes and from the battleships, 
cruisers, and destroyers of the Luzon 
Attack Force. 

On 12 January the 158th RCT, which 
had replaced elements of the i72d In- 
fantry, 43d Division, along the coast road 
on the 11th, sent patrols into Damortis 
and found the town virtually deserted. 3 
Late the same day General Krueger, in 
order to unify command on the army 
left, released the RCT from army con- 
trol and attached it to I Corps. For 
similar reasons General Swift, the corps 
commander, further attached the combat 
team to the 43d Division. 4 Swift also 
attached his corps reserve, the 6th Divi- 
sion's 63d RCT, to the 43d Division and 
directed the division commander, Gen- 
eral Wing, to commit the 63d to close a 



'Japanese information in this subsection is from: 
Sato Statement, States, TIT, 253-55; '7 2f l ^P L 
Luzon, 9 Jan-13 Feb 45, O/B an., pp. 1-2; 43d Div 
FO 2, 13 Jan 45. 

* Additional information on 158th RCT operations 
is from: 158th RCT Rpt Luzon, pp. 12— 13; 158th Inf 
Rpt Damortis-Rosario, pp. 1-2; 158th RCT S-g Jnl 
and Jnl File, 11-17 J an 45! 158th M Unit Jnl and 
Jnl File, 1 1-18 Jan 45. 

4 Rad, Sixth Army to I Corps and 158th RCT, 3048 
12 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1 1—13 Jan 
45; Rad, I Corps to 158th RCT, 0034 13 Jan 45, 158th 
RCTS-3 Jnl File, 11-17 Jan 45. 



growing gap between the 158th RCT 
and the 173d Infantry, which had been 
advancing eastward as the 158th pushed 
north. 5 

On the morning of 12 January the 
i72d Infantry, aided by left flank ele- 
ments of the 169th Infantry, undertook 
an abortive attack against Hill 580, near 
the southern end of the third, bare- 
crested ridge line inland from the 
Mabilao landing beaches. 6 From Hill 
580 the ridge line stretched northward 
about four and a half miles to the 
Damortis Rosario road near barrio Cata- 
guintingan, at the edge of the open farm 
land west of Rosario. On the east the 
ridge overlooked open, gently sloping 
terrain that fell away to the valley of the 
Bued River, leading northeastward from 
the vicinity of Hill 580 and past the 
Routes 3-1 1 junction. A tiny tributary 
of the Bued, the Apangat River, lay just 
under the eastern side of the ridge line. 

Once Hill 580 was cleared, the i72d 
Infantry could proceed north along the 
ridge and the Apangat River abreast of 
the 63d Infantry, which, as 43d Division 
plans evolved on 1 2 and 1 3 January, was 
to attack north along the next ridge to 
the west while the 158th Infantry struck 
east along the Damortis-Rosario road. 
If this three-regiment attack succeeded 
quickly, the units could drive rapidly on 
to overrun artillery positions north of 
the road from which the Japanese were 
still shelling I Corps beaches and then 

5 Rad, I Corps to Sixth Army, RM- 79, 12 Jan 45, 
Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 11-12 Jan 45; Entry 
56, 11-12 Jan, and Entries 44 and 76, 13-13 Jan, 43d 
Div G-3 Tnls. 11-12 and 12 — 13 Jan 45. 

•See above. fChaptcr ivjl for a generalized descrip- 
tion of the three ridge lines. Additional infor.Tiation 
on >72d Infantry operations is from: 172CI Inf Rpt 
Luzon, a. Jan_ig Feb 45, pp. 3-6; i72d Inf S-3 Rpts, 
11-18 Jan 45; 172(1 Inf Jnl and Msg File, 11-18 
Jan 45. 



106 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Junction of Coastal and Damortts-Rosarto Roads at Damortis 



push on to secure the Routes 3-11 junc- 
tion, thereby helping to safeguard Sixth 
Army's extreme left and permitting Gen- 
eral Krueger to devote more attention 
to the XIV Corps' drive toward Manila. 
Making final prep rations for the three- 
regiment advance, the 43d Division es- 
timated that some 5,000 troops of the 
58th 1MB held defenses in the Damortis- 
Rosario sector, an estimate that was at 
least 1 ,000 men too low. 7 



* Of the 9,000 men originally in or attached to the 
58th 1MB, over 6,ooo were probably available to hold 
the approaches to Rosario. About 1,000 more were 
at Aringay, on the coast north of Damortis. The 
remaining 2,000 were sick, had been killed or 
wounded by the air, naval, and artillery bombard- 
ments, or were scattered in small detachments north 
and east of Rosario. 



On the morning of 1 3 January, behind 
close mortar support, the 173d Infantry 
again struck up the grassy, steep slopes 
of Hill 580, meeting a withering fare 
from Japanese mortars, machine guns, 
and rifles. Before securing most of the 
hill at 1730, the two assault companies 
lost about 1 5 men killed and 25 wounded. 
The next day the regiment continued 
north along the third ridge, supported 
now by the 43d Division's 103d Field 
Artillery Battalion (105-mm. howitzers) 
from positions near White Beach 1. 
Against scattered resistance, the 173d 
captured Hill 565, a mile and a quarter 
north of Hill 580. This gain had been 
so easy that General Wing, the 43d Divi- 
sion's commander, directed the regiment 



EXPANDING THE HOLD 



107 



to push on during the 15th to take Hill 
665, another mile and a quarter north 
and the highest point along the third 
ridge line. 

Meanwhile, the attacks of the 63d and 
158th Infantry Regiments had not gone 
so well. On the 13th the 63d attacked 
north from Hill 247 (captured by the 
i72d on S-day) and seized Hill 363, about 
a mile and a half up the middle ridge. 8 
Artillery support was to have been pro- 
vided by the 43d Division's 155-mm. 
howitzer battalion, the igad Field Artil- 
lery, since the 63d RCT's own 105-mm. 
battalion had been sent south with the 
rest of the 6th Division. 

Unfortunately, the 193d Field Artil- 
lery did not learn it was to support the 
63d Infantry until after dark on 12 Jan- 
uary, and could not start moving to good 
close support positions until daylight 
on the 13th, after the 63d had started its 
attack. Unlike a 105-mm. battalion, the 
lgzd did not normally operate in direct 
support roles and lacked the forward ob- 
servers and communications the lighter 
battalions possessed. The iQ2d might 
therefore have been expected to take 
some time to prepare for its direct sup- 
port mission, but the battalion reported 
it could have provided some support— 
with at least one battery — by noon on 
the 13th had not Col. Ralph C. Holliday, 
commanding the 63d Infantry, insisted 
that wire be laid for artillery liaison of- 
ficers and forward observers, a job that 
was not completed for the iQ2d Field 
Artillery for almost thirty -six hours. 
Colonel Holliday may have been influ- 
enced in his decision by the fact that the 
artillery's SCR-610 radio did not work 

11 Additional information on the 6gd InEantry is 
from: 63d Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. i-a; 63d Inf S-a/S-3 
Jni, 13-18 Jan 45; 63d Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 13-18 Jan 45. 



efficiently in the broken terrain of the 
middle ridge line where the 63d Infan- 
try was attacking. It was not, indeed, 
until the 43d Division had supplied the 
iQ2d Field Artillery with infantry SCR- 
300 sets that the battalion was able to 
establish satisfactory radio communica- 
tions. Then, on 14 January, the first 
radio brought up to the battalion's for- 
ward observers was promptly destroyed 
by Japanese artillery, which also cut wire 
that had already been laid. Support was 
again delayed. 

During the 14th, the igzd brought one 
battery still further forward to excellent 
direct support positions, but the com- 
munications problems made it impossi- 
ble for this battery to deliver any support 
fires that day. It was, finally, midafter- 
noon on 15 January when the entire 
battalion was in position — -about a mile 
inland and approximately three miles 
south of Hill 363 — and ready to give the 
63d Infantry the support it needed. 9 

Without artillery support, and con- 
tinually forced to seek cover from ob- 
served Japanese artillery and mortar fire 
against which it could call down no 
counterbattery fire, the 63d Infantry's 
progress was slow. Heat helped to slow 
advances. Though scarcely a mile inland, 
the regiment was cut off from Lingayen 
Gulf's cooling breezes and reaped the 
dividends of the broiling sun on the 
browning, steep hills. Water was another 
problem — none was readily available in 
the regiment's area, and the absence of 

• Ltr, Lt Col Donn R. Pepke (CO ad Bn 63d Inf) 
to author, 7 Jan 53, OCMH files; iqtd FA Bn Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 2-3; ig?d FA Bn Jnl, 12-16 Jan 45. .The 
1 gad's records indicate that some support missions 
were fired late on the afternoon of the 14th, but 
Colonel Pepke, commanding the 63d Infantry's lead- 
ing battalion, stated that he received no artillery 
support until noon on the 15th at the earliest. 



108 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



roads made it necessary to hand-carry 
all drinking water forward. But General 
Wing was dissatisfied with the regiment's 
accomplishments. Late on the 14th he 
relieved Colonel Holliday and placed 
Lt. Col. Harold G. Maison, the regi- 
mental executive officer, in command. 
Under Maison's direction, the 63d pre- 
pared to drive on northward to gain 
contact with the 158th Infantry along 
the Damortis-Rosario road. 10 

The 158th Infantry had spent 13 Janu- 
ary patrolling in the Damortis area and 
preparing to attack eastward on the 14th 
in a drive that was expected to take the 
regiment at least halfway to Rosario in 
one day. The attack on the 14th pro- 
ceeded smoothly for approximately five 
minutes. Then, as the i58th's leading- 
elements started through a shallow defile 
about half a mile east of the Damortis — 
coastal road junction, Japanese mortar 
and artillery fire began chewing up the 
highway, and Japanese machine gun fire 
pinned down the American troops as 
they sought cover along the slopes north 
and south of the road. The troops of 
the 58th 1MB, who had taken a heavy 
pounding from Allied aircraft, naval fire 
support vessels, and I Corps artillery for 
some days, had abandoned their coastal 
defenses and had moved into defilade 
positions along the eastern slopes and 
folds of the coastal ridge line. Their 
cave and tunnel defenses had been in- 
visible from the west, and they had been 
able to set up what amounted to an 
ambush that 158th Infantry patrols had 
not discovered on 13 January, During 



" Intervs, author with Col George G. O'Connor 
(CO 53d FA Bn 6th Div), 15 Dec 52 and 2 Feb 53; 
Ltr, Pepke to author, 7 Jan 53; 63d Inf S-2/S-3 Jnl, 
13-15 Jan 45; 43d Div G-g Jnl, 13-15 Jan 45. 



the afternoon of the 14th the 158th 
Infantry's forward troops painfully with- 
drew from their exposed positions on 
the open slopes just east of Damortis. 
The day's abortive effort cost the regi- 
ment 20 men killed and 65 wounded. 

The next day the 158th Infantry, 
supported by the 147th Field Artillery 
Battalion (105-mm. howitzers), naval 
gunfire, and CVE-based planes, gained 
about 1,000 yards of ground in an east- 
erly direction both north and south of 
Route 3, advancing on a front about 
800 yards wide astride the highway. 
South of the road, troops reached the 
crest of the first ridge line, which did 
not extend north of the road. There, 
the seaward slopes rose eastward to a 
ridge that, lying approximately a mile 
and a quarter inland, formed a north- 
ward extension of the middle ridge south 
of Route 3. Units of the 158th operating 
north of the road on 15 January were 
able to press only halfway up the bare 
slopes of the northern ridge. 

Meanwhile, south of Route 3, the 63d 
Infantry had advanced over a mile and 
a half north from Hill 363 in an attempt 
to reach barrio Amlang, at the eastern 
exit of the defile through which the 
158th Infantry was driving. The 63d 
was now operating along the eastern 
slopes of the first ridge line and across 
the second ridge, which became progres- 
sively more broken and ill-defined as the 
regiment proceeded northward. Japa- 
nese artillery and mortar fire, which 
showed no signs of decreasing in inten- 
sity as the day wore on, lambasted the 
63d's forward elements all day. 

Both the 63d and the 158th Infantry 
Regiments had encountered stronger 
resistance than anticipated, and General 
Wing now realized that neither was 



EXPANDING THE HOLD 



109 



going to break through toward Rosario 
as soon as hoped. Accordingly, he di- 
rected the i72d Infantry to speed its 
advance toward Route 3. He simultane- 
ously directed the regiment to seize 
Rosario and clean out Japanese artillery 
emplacements north of Route 3 from 
which much of the fire had been falling 
on the 63d and 158th. 11 

Speed on the right appeared essential 
for another reason. Late on 14 January 
both air and ground observers had spot- 
ted a Japanese motorized column mov- 
ing south along Route 3 below the Routes 
3-1 1 junction. If, as feared, this move 
presaged a build-up for a Japanese coun- 
terattack against the Sixth Army's left, 
the 173d Infantry had to gain control 
over the highway junction before any 
more Japanese troops could come south. 
The regiment began operations on the 
morning of 15 January to secure the 
junction. That day, at the cost of 5 men 
killed and 30 wounded, the 173d Infan- 
try established one battalion at the edge 
of Route 3 about a mile and a half west 
of Rosario. 

The 43d Division was now trying to 
accomplish three related tasks: secure 
the Routes 3—11 junction; overrun all 
Japanese artillery emplacements in the 
Damortis-Rosario region; and secure all 
the ground on its left to the Army 
Beachhead Line, which lay roughly three 
miles north of the Damortis-Rosario 
road. Since it appeared to General Wing 
that his three left flank regiments did 
not have enough strength to accomplish 
all these missions, he directed the 169th 
Infantry, which had been operating to 
the southeast for three days, to push some 
troops north along Route 3 toward the 



" 43d Div FO 3, 15 Jan 45. 



Routes 3—1 1 junction. The i72d Infan- 
try was to seize Rosario, high ground 
immediately north of the town, and the 
highway junction. The 63d would clear 
the Damortis-Rosario road from the 
i72d's westernmost positions west to 
barrio Amlang. The 158th Infantry's 
primary task was to eliminate the Japa- 
nese from the ridge north of the defile 
where the regiment had been stopped. 
The 158th had already probed up the 
western slopes of this ridge, and patrols 
had discovered that the Japanese had 
many mortar and machine gun posi- 
tions, and a few artillery emplacements 
as well, along the ridge line, which ex- 
tended for some two miles north of the 
road. 

Advances made on 16 January in 
accordance with these plans were dis- 
appointing. None of the three regiments 
on the left made significant progress, 
but all took more casualties. The 158th 
Infantry, for example, suffered 13 men 
killed, 34 wounded, and 49 evacuated 
because of heat exhaustion. Almost all 
the casualties were incurred by one bat- 
talion and constituted a rate that no 
battalion could stand for long. The sup- 
ply problems of the 63d and 173d Infan- 
try Regiments were becoming more and 
more vexing. Until engineers could con- 
struct roads northward along the ridges, 
food and ammunition had to be either 
airdropped or moved up by Filipino 
hand-carrying parties. At this stage of 
operations on Luzon, it was not yet pos- 
sible to organize such a resupply pro- 
gram on the scale required for rapid 
advances. The three regiments on the 
left — -the 169th had been unable to start 
any troops north along Route 3 on 16 
January — had apparently been stale- 
mated, each unable to make significant 



110 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Troops on Hill Overlooking Damortis-Rosario Road 



progress until the others began breaking 
through. General Wing would have to 
discover some way to break the stale- 
mate quickly, for in large measure the 
entire development of the Sixth Army's 
campaign was coming to depend upon 
the progress of the 63d, 158th, and ljzd 
Infantry Regiments. 

The 43d Division's Right Flank 

While operations on the 43d Divi- 
sion's left had been developing into a 
stalemate, the 103d and i6gth Infantry 
Regiments, on the division right, had 
been preoccupied with a drive eastward 
toward the Army Beachhead Line, a 
drive that took the regiments into the 
23d Division's outer defensive arc. On 
1 3 January, after having cleared, with 
the i72d Infantry, the southern end of 



the third ridge line inland from the 
landing beaches, the 169th Infantry be- 
gan directing its major efforts toward 
securing Hill 318, on the east bank of 
the Bued River four and a half miles 
due east of San Fabian, and Hill 355, 
two miles northeast of Hill 318. 12 

The 169th Infantry was up against 
the 23d Division's 64th Infantry, which 
was responsible for holding the western 
approaches to Route 3 from a point near 



11 Additional information on 169th Infantry oper- 
ations is from 169th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 4-5; 169th 
lnf Unit Jnl and Jnl Files, 12-18 Jan 45. 

During preliminary attacks against Hill 318 on 
12 January, S. Sgt. Robert E. Laws of Company G, 
169th Infantry, earned the Medal of Honor when, 
leading the company's assault squad, he personally 
knocked out a Japanese pillbox and, although 
wounded, continued to fight, killing three Japanese 
before being evacuated. 



EXPANDING THE HOLD 



111 



the Routes 3-1 1 junction south-south- 
east almost eighteen miles to Urdaneta. 13 
The Japanese regiment numbered about 
2,500 troops, at least half of whom were 
ill-trained replacements picked up on 
Luzon. The 1st Battalion, less a rein- 
forced rifle company at Hill 318, was on 
Hill 355. The 3d Battalion held Mt. 
Alava, a mile and a half north of Hill 
355, and the ground sloping down to 
Route 3 at the town of Sison, two and a 
half miles northeast of Mt. Alava's crest. 
Supporting artillery, about two medium 
battalions, was emplaced in the Mt. 
Alava-Sison area and at Hill 355. The 
64th Infantry was well dug in along the 
bare slopes of Hills 318 and 355 and 
Mt. Alava, having constructed many 
tunnels and caves and enlarged natural 
fissures and holes. The regiment, having 
all the advantages of observation, could 
watch every movement of 169th Infan- 
try troops across the open approaches to 
the hill defenses. 

The 169th Infantry, in a frontal 
assault that cost 70 men killed or 
wounded, cleared Hill 318 by evening 
on 14 January and the next day started 
a two-pronged attack against Hill 355, 14 
The effort of the 15th, at the expense 
of 15 men killed and 30 wounded, only 
demonstrated that continued frontal as- 
sault from the south and west held out 
little chance for the quick success and 
breakthrough to Route 3 that General 
Wing, under pressure from General 



13 Japanese information in this subsection is from: 
SWPA Hist Series, II, 463, n. 9, and Plate III; 43d Div 
G-2 Rpt Luzon, Sec. II, Enemy O/B, pp. 1-3; 103d 
Inf O/B Rpt Luzon, p. 1. 

14 Additional information on operations at Hill 355 
comes from: 716th Tank Bn Rpt Luzon, p. 3; 169th 
Inf Verbal FO, 14 Jan 45, resume in 169th Inf jnl 
File, 14 Jan 45; 43d Div G-3 Jnl, 13-15 Jan 45. 



Swift at I Corps headquarters, was de- 
manding. Wing accordingly directed 
the 169th Infantry to cease its frontal 
attacks, bypass Hill 355 to the south, 
and displace overland to Route 3 at 
barrio Palacpalac, four miles south of 
Sison. 15 

To escape detection in the open 
ground south of Hill 355 and Mt. Alava, 
the i6gth Infantry, which left a one- 
battalion containing force at Hill 355, 
started its overland march at 2030 on 
the 15th. Forced to ford two small rivers 
and thread its way through dry rice pad- 
dies with their separating embankments, 
the regiment did not close at Palacpalac 
until 1700 on the 16th. The troops had 
been encumbered by supplies during the 
march because supply lines were aban- 
doned until the 103d Infantry, on the 
right, could secure good gravel roads 
running from Route 3 at Pozorrubio, 
a mile south of Palacpalac, southwest to 
Manaoag and west to San Jacinto. 

For some days the 103d Infantry had 
been striving to reach and clear Route 3 
from Pozorrubio south to Urdaneta, but 
had found its way blocked by the rein- 
forced 2ci Battalion, 64 th Infantry, on 
the Hill 200 complex. The Japanese 
battalion had about 600 men on the six 
square miles of complicated but gently 
rolling and open hills, in which they had 
dug many caves, tunnels, and machine 
gun emplacements. The Japanese had 
ten to fifteen artillery pieces in support, 
some of them held mobile along the 
road to Pozorrubio. Other troops and 



10 43d Div FO 3, 15 Jan 45; Entries 27, 100, and 101, 
43d Div G-3 Jnl, 13-14 Jan 45; Entries zi and 32, 
43d Div G-3 Jnl, 14-15 Jan 45; Entry 84, 43d Div G-% 
Jnl, 15—16 Jan 45; 43d Div G-3 Rpts, 15 and 16 Jan 
45; 43d Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 10-11. 



112 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



additional artillery were in Pozorrubio 
and at Binalonan, midway between 
Pozorrubio and Urdaneta. 

The 103d Infantry's fight to clear Hill 
200 was marked from start to finish by 
heat and dust, and by extremely close 
support of 105-mm, howitzers, the 105- 
mm. self-propelled howitzers of the regi- 
mental Cannon Company, 4.2-inch 
mortars, and a company of the 716th 
Tank Battalion. 10 The battle was joined 
in earnest on the morning of 1 2 January, 
and by dark on the 16th only minor 
mopping up remained. Some 250 of the 
Japanese defenders escaped toward 
Pozorrubio, which elements of the 103d 
Infantry entered late on the 16th. The 
next day the 103d cleared the town, the 
remaining troops of the 2d Battalion, 
6^th Infantry, having withdrawn north- 
ward during the night. Meanwhile, fur- 
ther south, two reinforced companies of 
the 3d Battalion, 103d Infantry, had 
reached barrio Potpot, a mile or so west 
of Binalonan on the Binalonan-Manaoag 
road. The companies scarcely had time 
to set up defenses at dusk on the 1 6th 
before they were attacked from the east 
by a force of Japanese tanks. 

Counterattack 

Although General Yamashita never 
had any intention of launching a major 
counteroffensive against the Sixth Army, 
he did decide, probably to assuage the 
oft-expressed desires of many members 
of his staff, to undertake some minor, 
local counterattacks on the Sixth Army's 



14 Additional information on the 103d Infantry is 
from: jogd Inf Rpt Luzon, 1 Jan-gi May 45, pp. 
7-13; 103d RCT S-g Per Rpt, 12-18 Jan 45; 103d 
Inf Opns Jnl, 12-18 Jan 45. 



left. 17 His intention was to retain some 
initiative for 14th Area Army and to 
gain a bit more time to continue moving 
supplies north into the Shobu Group's 
redoubt. The 13d Division was to exe- 
cute the local counterattacks, moving on 
the night of 16-17 January. 

The division directed the attached 
58th 1MB to strike south along the coast 
road to disrupt the 158th RCT's supply 
line. The division's own jrst Infantry, 
from positions in hills east and north- 
east of Sison, was to send two companies 
southwest down the Bued River valley, 
threatening the rear and the supply 
routes of the i72d and 169th Infantry 
Regiments. The yid Infantry, also em- 
ploying two companies, was to move into 
Pozorrubio and operate against the rear 
of the 169th and 103d Infantry Regi- 
ments. The armored Shigemi Detach- 
ment, attached to the 23d Division since 
10 or 11 January, was to send a small 
tank-infantry task force west from San 
Manuel, through Binalonan, and on to 
Manaoag to disrupt the 103d Infantry's 
attack. 

"From the first, however, the plan 
went awry." 18 On the north, the only 
noteworthy action seems to have been 
a raid against a 158th RCT artillery 
emplacement. For the rest, the units on 
the 43d Division's left reacted to the 
58th IMB's share in the counterattack 
with laconic reports of "normal infiltra- 
tion." Conflicting information makes it 
impossible to separate the parts played 
by the yist and 72^ Infantry Regiments, 

" Japanese information in this subsection is from: 
SWPA Hist Series, II, 437-38; 14th Area Army Opns 
on Luzon, pp. 44-45; Takahashi Statement, States, 
IV, 43; Sato Statement, States, III, E54; Rawai State- 
ment, in States, I, 321-24; 43d Div G-2 Rpt Luzon, 
Sec. II, Enemy O/B, p. 3. 

18 SWPA Hist Series, II, 438. 



EXPANDING THE HOLD 



113 




Manaoag. Hill 200 Complex Is in Background. 



but in their sectors there was more 
action. One small party of Japanese 
reached rear installations of the 1720" 
Infantry, set afire a gasoline dump, dam- 
aged a couple of trucks, killed 2 Ameri- 
can soldiers, and wounded 8 others. This 
group of Japanese dispersed after losing 
about 10 men killed, but continued to 
create infiltration scares along the Bued 
River valley for the next two or three 
days. 

At barrio Palacpalac some 200 Japa- 
nese hit the perimeter of the 1st Battal- 
ion, lGgth Infantry, shortly after dark 
on 16 January. Confused fighting — -the 
Japanese group had not expected to find 



the Americans on Route 3 — continued 
until after daylight on the 17th, when 
the Japanese withdrew leaving nearly a 
hundred dead on the field. The i6gth's 
battalion lost 4 men killed and 26 
wounded. The action may not, indeed, 
have been part of the counterattack, but 
may well have been precipitated by rem- 
nants of the 2d Battalion, 64th Infantry, 
withdrawing from Hill a 00. 

The strongest raid was that executed 
by the Shigemi Detachment against the 
outpost of the 3d Battalion, 103d Infan- 
try, at barrio Potpot. Shortly before 
midnight on 16 January, Japanese tanks 
suddenly loomed up through the dark- 



114 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



ness on the east side of the outpost. 
American antitank gunners were so taken 
by surprise that two tanks were able to 
drive through the perimeter spraying 
machine gun fire in all directions before 
disappearing down the road toward 
Manaoag. A third Japanese tank was 
knocked out east of the perimeter, but 
others, accompanied by infantry, con- 
tinued to attack. The Japanese infantry 
withdrew after a sharp, two-hour fire 
fight, and the tanks also disappeared. 
But at dawn on the 17th the two tanks 
that, had broken through earlier came 
roaring back down the road from 
Manaoag. This time they were destroyed. 

When a count could be taken, the 
103d Infantry's groupment at Potpot 
found it had lost 2 men killed and 10 
wounded; a 37-mm. antitank gun, a jeep, 
and an M8 scout car destroyed; and a 
tank, another jeep, and a second M8 
damaged. The Japanese lost 1 1 tanks 
and at least 50 men killed. 

At dawn on the 17th, as the Japanese 
counterattacks at Palacpalac and Potpot 
ended, elements of the 25th Division 
began moving up to relieve the 169th 
and 103d Infantry Regiments. Taking 
stock at the end of the day, the 43d Divi- 
sion (and its attached 158th and 63d 
RCT's) could look back on its perform- 
ance since the landing with mixed feel- 
ings. Nowhere had the division projected 
any strength to the Army Beachhead 
Line, 10 and at least temporarily the units 
on the division left had become involved 
in a stalemate that threatened to have a 
serious, if not disruptive, effect upon 
Sixth Army's progress. On the other 
hand, the 43d Division's troops had met 

"Actually, a couple of patrols of the it;8th Infan- 
try had reached the Army Beachhead Line along the 
coast north of Damortis. 



and partially overcome the strongest re- 
sistance the Japanese on Luzon had yet 
offered any elements of the Sixth Army. 
The division had overrun some impor- 
tant positions along the Division's 
outer line of defenses, and it had uncov- 
ered additional Japanese concentrations. 
Holding a front of approximately twenty- 
five miles as of daybreak on 17 January, 
the five regiments under 43d Division 
control had attained positions that at 
least partially nullified chances that 14th 
Area Army could launch a large-scale 
surprise counteroffensive that might seri- 
ously threaten Sixth Army's beachhead. 
The division's main problem was to 
overcome the last major vestiges of such 
a threat by securing control over the 
Routes 3-1 1 junction and gaining a firm 
hold on Route 3 south of the junction. 
Their accomplishments to 17 January 
had cost the forces under General Wing's 
command approximately 770 casualties 
— roughly 200 men killed or missing 
and about 570 wounded. 

The 6th Division's Zone 

While the 43d Division had been 
moving against the strongest Japanese 
defenses so far encountered on Luzon, 
I Corps' right flank unit, the 6th Divi- 
sion, had been holding along a generally 
static line. 20 By evening on 1 1 January, 
it had appeared that the 6th Division 
could push on in its sector to the Army 
Beachhead Line and as far as the Agno 
River with little trouble, but General 
Swift, the I Corps commander, held the 



!0 The principal sources for this subsection are: 
I Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 28-32; 6th Div Rpt Luzon, 
pp. fi-io; 6th Div Arty Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-6; 6th Cav 
Ren Tr Rpt Luzon, pp. 5—9; 6th Div G— 3 Jnls and 
Jnl Files, 12-17 J an 45! Ist Luzon, pp. 8—9. 



EXPANDING THE HOLD 



115 



division back, because its further ad- 
vance would create a potentially dan- 
gerous g ap along the I Corps' front. 



(Map 4) Swift directed the division to 
consolidate along a line stretching from 
Malasiqui, about twelve miles inland on 
the I-XIV Corps boundary, northeast 
across open farm land almost ten miles 
to the 6th-4gd Division boundary near 
Manaoag. The division displaced to its 
new line against negligible opposition 
on 12 and 13 January, and immediately 
began sending reconnaissance elements 
eastward and southward. Patrols of the 
6th Reconnaissance Troop, based in the 
vicinity of Manaoag, reported that Ur- 
daneta was held by a strong force of 
Japanese and that Villasis, another five 
miles south along Route 3 and on the 
Agno, also contained a Japanese garri- 
son. Patrols moving out of Malasiqui 
found a good-sized Japanese group dug 
in on the Cabaruan Hills, centering 
some six miles east of Malasiqui. 

The 6th Division could not move 
against these Japanese concentrations 
until released from its holding mission, 
and, lest a great gap develop between 
the 6th and 43d Divisions, release could 
not come until the situation across the 
Sixth Army's front was sufficiently clari- 
fied to permit General Krueger to de- 
cide how and where to commit his last 
reserve, the 25th Division — a decision 
he did not reach until late on the 16th. 
When the 25th Division started taking 
over from 43d Division right flank units 
on the morning of the 17th, the 6th Divi- 
sion was able to resume its advance, 
heading now toward Urdaneta and the 
Cabaruan Hills. Until the 17th the 6th 
Division had encountered no strong re- 
sistance, and its casualties, excluding 
those of the 63d RCT, numbered 



no more than 20 men killed and go 
wounded. 21 

XIV Corps Probes South 

The XIV Corps had not been idle 
while the I Corps had been developing 
the situation on Sixth Array's left. 22 As 
of evening on 11 January, XIV Corps' 
37th Division was outposting the Army 
Beachhead Line from the corps bound- 
ary south of Malasiqui west nearly eight 
miles to Bacnar on the 37th~40th Divi- 
sion boundary. The 40th Division's most 
southerly unit was at Aguilar, on Route 
13 and the Army Beachhead Line about 
six miles west of Bacnar. To the north- 
west, along Lingaycn Gulf's southwest- 
ern shore, the 40th Division had control 
of Route 7 almost as far as Port 
Sual, the western terminus of the Army 
Beachhead Line. 

During the period 12-14 January the 
185th Infantry, 40th Division, with the 
40th Reconnaissance Troop attached, 
secured Port Sual and moved on to take 
the road junction town of Alaininos on 
the Bolinao Peninsula. The regiment 
also advanced north four miles from 
Port Sua] along the western side of 
Lingayen Gulf to Cabalitan Bay, where 
it found that men of the Allied Naval 
Forces, unopposed, had already landed 
to establish a seaplane base. Patrols then 
drove west and reached Dasol Bay, on 
Luzon's west coast, on 15 January. No- 



21 For further information on the commitm ent of 
the 25th Division, see below, "chapter VIII. | Oper- 
ations of the 6th and z%th Divisions on 17 January 
are described in Chapter IX. 

21 The general sources for this section are: XIV 
Corps Rpt Luzon, pt« L pp- 54-62; 40th Div Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 11-13; i«th Div G-3 Opns Rpts, 12-17 
Jan 45; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 21-25: 37 tn Div G-3 
Jnls and Jnl Files, 12-18 Jan 45; Sixth Army Rpt 
Luzon, I, 20. 




P. 7 e m p /f 

MAP 4 



EXPANDING THE HOLD 



117 



where did any significant contacts with 
Japanese forces develop. 

Further south, the 160th Infantry of 
the 40th Division had a few skirmishes 
with elements of the Kubota Detach- 
ment, which was composed of the 23d 
Reconnaissance Regiment, 23d Division, 
and a large part of the 1st Battalion of 
the Infantry , 23d Division. A few 
stragglers of the Kubota Detachment 
were cut off on the Bolinao Peninsula, 
but the detachment dissipated most of 
its strength in a series of minor clashes 
south along Route 13 with the 160th 
Infantry. 23 

To the 40th Division's left, on 12 
January, patrols of the 37th Division 
found Filipino guerrillas holding Bay- 
ambang, on the Agno River eight miles 
south of Malasiqui, and secured Urbiz- 
tondo, on the Agno five miles south of 
Bacnar. The next day patrols moved into 
Wawa, between Bayambang and Urbiz- 
tondo. On 15 January a battalion of 
the 129th Infantry, 37th Division, crossed 
the Agno at Wawa and marched on 
south along a dusty gravel road to 
Camiling, where Route 13 comes in from 
the northwest. A battalion of the 160th 
Infantry, 40th Division, came down from 
Aguilar to Camiling the same day. 

General Krueger now instructed 
General Griswold, the XIV Corps com- 
mander, to send more troops south of 
the Agno. On the evening of 15 Janu- 
ary Griswold accordingly directed his 
engineers to construct crossings over the 
Agno so that heavy equipment could 

"Japanese information in this section is from: 
14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 45, 73-74; SWPA 
Hist Series, II, Plate III (after p. 437); Kubota De- 
tachment Opnl Order 1, 5 Jan 45, trans in 40th Div 
G-3 Jnl File, 14 Jan 45. The detachment was named 
after Lt. Col, Shohei Kubota, also the commander 
of the 2jd Reconnaissance Regiment. 



move on toward Manila and larger forces 
could be supplied south of the river. 
Generally, the corps was to bring its 
main strength up to the line Bayambang- 
Wawa-Camiling, and was to set up an 
outpost line further south. 24 Units re- 
deployed without incident during the 
next two days. By the 17th the corps 
had outposts at Moncada, on Route 3 
over ten miles south of the Agno at 
Villasis in the I Corps sector; at Nam- 
picuan and Anao, on the corps boundary 
four miles east of Moncada; and at 
Paniqui, on Route 3 six miles south of 
Moncada. As of 17 January XIV Corps 
had lost about 30 men killed and go 
wounded, compared to I Corps losses of 
230 killed and 660 wounded. 

Whatever the strength of the opposi- 
tion the XIV Corps had encountered in 
the open, flat farm land through which it 
was moving, the corps had accomplished 
its initial missions. It had secured Sixth 
Army's right; it had reached and passed 
the Army Beachhead Line in its sector; 
it had secured crossings over the Agno 
River. From the nature of the resistance 
encountered so far and from information 
supplied by guerrillas and reconnais- 
sance patrols about the area south of 
the Agno, it appeared that XIV Corps 
could drive on toward Manila just as 
soon as I Corps could assure the safety 
of the XIV's left rear and the supporting 
echelons could move sufficient supplies 
and heavy equipment across the Agno, 
over which the Japanese had left scarcely 
a single bridge standing. 

"XIV Corps Opns Memos 6, 15 Jan 45, and 
17 Jan 45, both in XIV Corps Opns Memos File; 
37th Div Opns Memo 3, 16 Jan 45. 37th Div G— 3 
Jnl File, ii",_i8 Jan 45; 40th Div Opns Memo 1, 16 
Jan 45, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File, 16-17 J an 45! Si xtn 
Army FO 4a, lfi Jan 45, Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, 
I, 147- 



CHAPTER VII 



The Logistics of the Invasion 



The danger of overextension in the 
face of the continued threat of Japanese 
counterattack against Sixth Army's left 
was the principal factor so far prevent- 
ing XIV Corps from driving further and 
more rapidly southward. At the same 
time, however, logistical problems threat- 
ened not only seriously to delay XIV 
Corps progress but also to slow I Corps 
operations to secure the army left. 
Largely as the result of circumstances 
beyond the control of Sixth Army and 
of the Allied Naval Forces, the problem 
of supplying the advancing troops of the 
two corps had become extremely vexing 
during the first week ashore on Luzon. 
Indeed, as early as evening of S plus 1, 
10 January, all supply operations at Lin- 
gayen Gulf had almost halted. More- 
over, Sixth Army engineers had quickly 
found that unanticipated difficulties 
would delay bridge and airfield con- 
struction in the Lingayen Gulf area and 
that other construction projects along 
the gulf's shores would have to be aban- 
doned as impracticable. Such logistical 
problems tended to create the proverbial 
vicious circle — on the one hand they 
would delay the XIV Corps' progress 
southward; on the other hand they de- 
manded that XIV Corps push southward 
as rapidly as possible to secure the Clark 
Field air center and the Manila port 
facilities. 



Unloading the Assault Convoys 

Beach Operations on S-day 

Early landings on 9 January gave no 
hint of problems to arise. 1 The long, 
shallow gradient along the XIV Corps' 
beaches was ideal for LVT's, LVT(A)'s, 
and Dukws, all of which made their way 
to dry land without difficulty. However, 
most LCVP's grounded in shallow water 
some 20 to 30 yards offshore. Next, engi- 
neer special brigade LCM's (Landing 
Craft, Mechanized) grounded about 50 
yards off the beaches, Navy LCT's 
stopped 75 to 80 yards out, and LST's 
grounded by the stern 50 to 100 yards 
seaward of the LCT's. 

Most of the LST's had stuck on a shoal 
or sand bar that, fronting much of the 

1 The principal sources used for this section and 
its subsections are: III Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, pp. 
12-14; ibid., End A, Intel, pp. 1-2; ibid., Encl C, 
Logistics, p. 3; TO 79.1 Lingayen Gulf Rpt, pp. 12- 
13, 16-17; TG 79.2 Lingiiyen Gulf Rpt, pp. 10-15, 
3 1 — 33- 3 R -4"; T G 79-3 Lingayen Gulf Rpt, pp. 1, 
6-7, 11; TG 79.4 Lingayen Gulf Rpt, pp. 6-13, ig_ 
afi; TG 79.fi Lingayen Gulf Rpt, pp. 6-9; VII Amphib 
Force Rpt Luzon, pp, 4_r,, 17, 27-30; TG 78.5 Lin- 
gayen Gulf Rpt, pp. 6-7; 4th ESB Rpt Luzon, pp. 
6-fi, 1 i~H3; I Corps Amphib Off, Lingayen Gulf Rpt, 
atdiri to 3d ESB Rpt, Jan 45, pp. 3, 8, 10-12; 37th 
Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 19-21, 192—95; 544th EB&SR 
Uist, 1 Feb 43-1 Feb 46, 1, 21-24; 594 th F-B&SR Rpt 
Lingiiyen Gulf, 24 Nov 44-13 Feb 45, pp. 4-9; 533d 
EB&SR Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 6^9; 543d EB&SR 
Rpt. M-I Opn, pp. 7-22; 543d EB&SR Rpt on M-I 
Opn Through S Plus 3, pp. 1-7. 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 



119 



length of the XIV Corps' beaches, had 
not been detected during the study of 
preinvasion aerial photography or by 
hydrographic survey operations on 7 and 
8 January, 2 After the landings started 
on g January it was too late to divert 
LST's to better beaching sites, and the 
price of the failure to locate the sand 
bar earlier quickly became apparent. 
Attempts to send trucks ashore through 
water that deepened on the landward 
side of the shoal proved futile, since 
most of the vehicles were not — and could 
not have been— sufficiently waterproofed 
to make their way through salt water 
that at least in a few spots reached well 
over their hoods. At many points, there- 
fore, direct unloading from LST's was 
halted, and efforts were made to rig 
ponton causeways to bridge the water 
gap — a solution that led to another 
problem. 8 At some of the XIV Corps' 
beaches LST's had grounded so far out 
that crews had to use three causeway 
sections to reach dry land and even then 
bulldozers had to push sand ramps out 
from shore at some points to reach the 
inland end of the third sections. Build- 
ing such ramps was no mean feat since 
most of the engineer shore party bull- 
dozers required for the task were still 
aboard the very LST's awaiting dis- 
charge. Army planners, who had no 
more information about shoals than 
Navy planners, had assumed that LST's 
would be able to get close inshore at all 



1 Admiral Barbey, commanding the VII Amphib- 
ious Force, believed that sufficient information, 
properly interpreted, had been available to disclose 
the shoal well hefore the landings. Barbey Com- 
ments, 14 Apr 57. 

3 By naval designation, the proper spelling for 
ponton in ponton cubes is pontoon. For the sake of 
consistency, the Army spelling ponton is employed 
in this volume. 



points across Lingayen Gulf. Working 
from this assumption, the Army had 
loaded the bulk of shore party men and 
equipment aboard LST's. The effect 
of this emphasis was that the entire 
unloading schedule began to break down. 

There are some indications that LST 
unloading was also slowed at two or three 
points because naval personnel, forced 
to alter tentative plans to construct two- 
section ponton causeways, took a long 
time to rig the required three-section 
causeways. Many LST's, unloading bulk 
cargo directly on to the causeways, ren- 
dered the bridges useless for the dis- 
charge of wheeled or tracked vehicles. 
At some points along the beaches LST 
commanders, reluctant to follow beach- 
ing directions from Navy beachmasters 
ashore, used their own discretion as to 
how to avoid the shoal. At this time 
Navy doctrine was not entirely clear 
on the degree of control beachmasters 
could exercise. Moreover, doctrine on 
LST beaching varied between the III 
and the VII Amphibious Force, a circum- 
stance that undoubtedly created prob- 
lems for commanders of LST's operating 
in the Southwest Pacific Area for the 
first time. 4 In the case of the III Amphib- 
ious Force (XIV Corps) beaches, most 
of the beachmasters, sadly outranked by 
LST skippers, did not have a rank com- 
mensurate with their responsibilities. 
Moreover, many I.ST commanders re- 
ported that discharge slowed down even 
more because Army unloading details 
assigned to their ships were too small 
to begin with and because the members 
of the details had a marked tendency to 
disappear one by one. Discharge of bulk 
cargo from some LST's therefore virtu- 



4 Barbey Comments, 14 Apr 57. 



120 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




LST's With Causeways at XIV Corps Beach 



ally halted until ship commanders could 
round up members of their own crews 
to do the job. 

Also serving to retard the discharge 
rate of LST's and smaller craft was the 
terrain along many beaches. A line of 
sand dunes, lying about 10 yards inland 
and varying from 5 to 15 feet in height, 
extended along the beaches. 6 The dunes 
proved no obstacle to foot troops but, 
steep on the seaward side, were impas- 
sable for wheeled vehicles. Until bull- 
dozers — apparently no one thought of 
putting crews of men to work with shov- 



'As reported in 1945. The author examined the 
beaches in April 1957 and found no dunes as much 
as ten feet high, while in many places the dunes were 
scarcely three feet high. 



els — could cut exit roads through the 
barriers, vehicles had to disperse later- 
ally along the beaches. Luckily, the sand 
on the Water side of the dunes was fairly 
firm; nonetheless the unloading area rap- 
idly became congested, and bulk cargo 
piled up along the water's edge. On the 
west, at the 40th Division's beaches, there 
was less trouble with dunes, but some 
congestion resulted because it was nec- 
essary to keep the Lingayen airstrip clear 
of supplies and equipment. 

If shore party troops and equipment 
had not been so concentrated on LST's 
and had been able to get ashore as sched- 
uled, much of the early beach congestion 
could have been avoided, and the landing 
schedules could have been maintained. 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 



121 



But shore parties were so involved in 
getting themselves ashore that they were 
delayed in turning to their normal tasks. 
In addition, throughout the day many 
troops that should have been handling 
bulk supplies on the beach had to help 
unload cargo from the smaller landing 
craft. Normally, with small craft beach- 
ing at the water's edge, no more than 
ten men would be detailed to help un- 
load cargo from an LCM or an LCVP, 
but at the XIV Corps' beaches it was 
necessary to form human chains of fifty 
to a hundred men to reach out into the 
surf for the cargo. Shore parties could 
not meet this abnormal demand for man- 
power, and a number of on-the-spot 
improvisations had to be employed. Sea- 
men came ashore from transports and 
cargo ships, combat troops of reserve 
units lent a hand, stragglers were 
rounded up on the beaches, and as soon 
as possible local Filipinos were organized 
into labor parties. 

Beach conditions alone did not create 
all the manpower problems on S-day. 
Some of the difficulties reflect a lack of 
detailed co-ordination during planning." 
For example, one Navy beachmaster ex- 
pected an Army working party of 9 1 men 
to show up to help unload a transport's 
small craft. Instead 75 arrived, led by 
an Army lieutenant who was sure that 
75 was the correct number. The differ- 
ence of just 15 men could and did 



* Additional information on XIV Corps beach 
operations is from: TU 79.4.1 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, 
pp. 2-3; ibid., F.ncl K, Transportation Div 10 
Beachmaster Rpt, pp. 1-3; TU 79.4.3 Rpt Lingayen 
Gulf, p. 8; ibid., Encl B, Transportation Div 30 
Beachmaster Rpt, pp. 3—4; TU 79.6.1 Rpt Lingayen 
Gulf, End A, Transportation Div 8 Beachmaster Rpt, 
pp. z-g; TU 79.3.2 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, p. a; TU 
79.3.3 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 17, 21-22. 



make a disproportionate difference in 
the speed of small-boat discharge. 

All across the Sixth Army's beaches, 
shore party officers had trouble estab- 
lishing and maintaining control over 
units attached to the nucleus engineer 
boat and shore regiments. At one XIV 
Corps beach, for instance, the shore party 
commander and a Navy beachmaster de- 
cided to move one RCT's cargo discharge 
point about half a mile. The move, in- 
volving the transfer of markers, commu- 
nications equipment, bulldozers, tractors, 
and trucks, alone halted unloading for 
about forty-five minutes. Then, when 
all was in readiness to resume discharge 
operations at the new site, the shore 
party commander found that many of 
his troops had disappeared during the 
transfer. It took another half an hour 
or so to round up the men and resume 
unloading at the former pace. 

A shortage of trucks, although antici- 
pated, became more serious than ex- 
pected. Most of the trucks scheduled to 
go ashore on the morning of S-day car- 
ried supplies consigned to infantry units. 
The vehicles were first to move to tem- 
porary unit dumps behind the dune line 
and then, unloaded, report back to the 
beaches for shore party assignments. The 
plan was one thing, its execution another. 

Since there was no Japanese opposition 
at the beaches, infantry units had pene- 
trated inland much faster and further 
than expected. Trucks had to make 
longer round trips than anticipated, de- 
laying their return to the beaches. Some 
infantry units, landing well before their 
supply trucks, failed to leave adequate 
guides or directions at the beaches. As 
a result, trucks could not find the units 
to which they were to deliver cargoes. 
Late in the afternoon, when shore party 



122 



TRIUMPH IN THF PHILIPPINES 



men started looking for vehicles to help 
alleviate the beach congestion, they 
found many trucks parked along roads 
just inland, still loaded and still search- 
ing for their units. Finally, come infan- 
try units had not been properly briefed 
or had shirked their responsibility to 
return the trucks to the beaches and had 
instead retained the vehicles inland. 

Whatever the causes, a critical shortage 
of trucks existed at XIV Corps beaches 
during S-day. In addition, few bulldozers, 
tractors, or cranes were available. These 
latter shortages had resulted in large 
measure from shipping shortages and the 
expectation of heavy resistance at the 
beaches. Planners had had no choice 
but to load available shipping with com- 
bat units and equipment, skimping on 
shore party materiel. Thus, the engi- 
neer boat and shore regiments and at- 
tached service units arriving on S-day-— 
and the S plus 2 convoy also — reached 
Luzon far underequipped. Even with 
the best possible beach and surf condi- 
tions the shore parties would have been 
operating on a shoestring. They had no 
margin of safety — no slack or reserves— 
to deal with unforeseen contingencies. 

As the result of materiel and man- 
power shortages on the beaches, offshore 
discharge — from transports to small craft 
—steadily fell behind schedule. Having 
to wait at the beaches an inordinately 
long time to unload, landing craft were 
slow to return to cargo vessels. Combat 
units also delayed discharge operations 
when they requisitioned engineer boat 
and shore regiment LCM's to serve as fer- 
ries across the many streams just inland 
from the beaches. 

Discharge problems along the I Corps' 
beaches were similar to those in the 
XIV Corps' sector except that at White 



Beaches 1 and 2, where the 43d Division 
went ashore, all landing craft and land- 
ing ships could beach with dry ramps 
at any stage of the tide. 7 At the other 
I Corps beaches, shore parties were even 
slower getting ashore than in the XIV 
Corps area, and control problems loomed 
at least as large. A single example suffices 
to illustrate the control problem — the 
6th Division's shore party, which oper- 
ated under the command of Headquar- 
ters, 543d Engineer Boat and Shore 
Regiment, 3d Engineer Special Brigade. 
\(Table 2) \ 

lire situation was little different at 
other beaches across Lingayen Gulf. 
Because planners had wanted to get 
forward echelons of technical service 
units set up on Luzon as early as pos- 
sible, many underequipped and under- 
manned organizations, attached to the 
shore parties, arrived on S-day and S 
plus 2 to complicate the control prob- 
lem. In retrospect, many officers felt that 
it would have been better to send for- 
ward fewer technical service units in 
favor of making certain that those that 
came were fully up to strength in men 
and equipment. Many of the service 
units saw limited use during the first 
week or so of operations on Luzon and, 
when loaded at the staging areas, took 
up space that the shore parties sorely 
needed. The shore party commanders, 
faced with the task of co-ordinating the 
operations of so many miscellaneous 
units, accomplished a remarkably good 
control job. The wonder is not so much 

7 Additional information on the I Corps-VII Am- 
phibious Force beach operations is from; TU 78.1.2 
Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pt. I, pp. 3^4, 24-26; TU 78.1.31 
Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 15-16; TU 78.1.23 Rpt Lin- 
gayen Gulf, pp. 3—7; TU 78.5.3 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, 
pp, 1-4; TU 78.5.4 Rpt Lingayen Gulf, pp. 10-11; 
ibid., End F, Rpt of Transport Div 33 Beachmaster. 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 

Table 2 — Composition of 6th Division Shore Party 



123 



543d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment (less Company C, two platoons of Company A, Boat Battalion head* 
quarters) 

3d Battalion, 20th Infantry (available for general labor details unless required for combat by the 6th Division) 

6th Quartermaster Company, 6th Division 

466th Quartermaster Amphibious Truck Company (Dukws) 

558th Quartermaster Railhead Company (less elements) 

2448th Quartermaster Truck. Company (2^-ton 6x6 trucks) 

4188th Quartermaster Service Company 

244th Transportation Corps Port Company (less one platoon) 

294th Transportation Corps Port Company 

48th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company 

622d Ordnance Ammunition Company 

706th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company, 6th Division 
108th Ordnance Bomb Disposal Squad 
1st Platoon, 36th Military Police Company 

Company C, 263d Medical Battalion, 3d Engineer Special Brigade 
Provisional Truck Company, 6th Division (2H-wn 6x6) 
Detachment, 198th Quartermaster Gas Supply Company 

Detachment, 163d Ordnance Maintenance Company, 3d Engineer Special Brigade 
Detachment, 3608th Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company (tanks) 
Detachment, 293d Joint Assault Signal Company 

Detachment, 1462d Engineer Boat Maintenance Company, 3d Engineer Special Brigade 

Source: 4th ESP Rpt Won, pp. 1-2; 543d EB&SR M-l Opn Rpt, an. 6, Or? Chart; 543d EBScSR Rpt on M-I Opn Through S Plus 3, 
p. 1; 6th lnf Div Rpt Luzon, p. 4. 



that control at the beaches was sometimes 
loose, but rather that control was estab- 
lished and maintained as well as it was. 

Harassing fire from Japanese mortars 
and artillery emplaced on the high 
ground to the east and northeast of 
the I Corps beaches was a delaying fac- 
tor with which XIV Corps did not have 
to contend. The fire waxed so intense 
late in the afternoon of g January that 
LST's had to halt operations at all 
White Beaches. Night unloading at 
these beaches was impossible. 

One or two other problems were pecul- 
iar to the I Corps beaches. Inadequate 
ship-to-shore communications plagued 
most beachmasters and shore party com- 
manders throughout the day, and some 
aspects of unloading were poorly co- 
ordinated. For example, the VII Am- 



phibious Force's beachmaster announced 
at one point that bulk cargo could not 
be handled at White Beach 3. Actually, 
under the direction of one transport 
division beachmaster and the local shore 
party commander, bulk cargo had been 
coming ashore at White Beach 3 slowly 
but efficiently for two hours before the 
announcement and continued to do so 
thereafter. At another beach the shore 
party commander and the beachmaster 
decided to move a small-craft discharge 
point, but three cargo ships continued to 
send supplies to the abandoned area de- 
spite the best efforts of the beachmaster 
to redirect traffic. 

Some trouble arose over control of 
landing craft across I Corps beaches. 
Engineer special brigade LCM's were 
scheduled to help unload first the ves- 



124 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



sels that had carried them to Lingayen 
Gulf, then other ships of the same naval 
transport division, next other ships as 
directed by Navy control officers, and, 
when all naval vessels were discharged, 
were to report to shore party command- 
ers for directions to start unloading mer- 
chant ships. Many of the LCM cox- 
swains had been improperly briefed on 
the sequence of unloading, and some 
had inexplicable difficulty locating the 
ships they were to unload. Too often 
Navy beachmasters could not help solve 
the location problem, for they had too 
little information concerning individ- 
ual ship anchorages to give the LCM's 
proper directions. 

Many LCM coxswains, contrary to 
plan, reported to shore party command- 
ers after their first run to shore. The 
shore party usually directed the LCM's 
back into Navy command channels, but 
some shore party officers assigned the 
LCM's to special Army missions such 
as the river crossing operations that took 
lisrhterage craft away from unloading 
jobs in the XIV Corps' area. Offshore, 
some engineer LCM's making turn- 
around trips to naval cargo ships were 
directed by ships' captains to different 
vessels. On occasion Navy control offi- 
cers did not learn of the changes, and in 
one case a I Corps shore party lost track 
of five LCM's for two days, the craft 
having moved to another beach at the 
order of a Navy transport captain. 

Despite the difficulties, both normal 
and abnormal, the AP's and APA's of 
the III and VII Amphibious Forces 
slated for S-day discharge were unloaded 
and ready to leave Lingayen Gulf by 
1800 as planned. On the other hand, 
only two or three LST's, the majority of 
which were also scheduled for S-day dis- 



charge, were unloaded; some LSM's had 
not completed discharge; and, finally, 
only a bare start had been made toward 
the unloading of AR's (Cargo Ships, 
Auxiliary) and AKA's (Cargo Ships, 
Attack). At the end of the day, it was 
obvious that the morrow would have to 
bring with it ideal conditions of weather, 
tide, organization, co-ordination, and 
communications if all vessels of the S-day 
convoy were to be unloaded by evening 
of S plus 2 in accordance with plans. 

Discharge Operations, 
to and 11 January 

Weather conditions were to prove any- 
thing but ideal. Far to the north of 
Lingayen Gulf strong tropical disturb- 
ances, including the typhoon that had 
hampered the operations of Admiral 
Halsey's fast carrier task forces, were 
whipping up the waters of the South 
China Sea. During the night of 9-10 
January the pressures built up by these 
storms began to create corresponding 
pressures within Lingayen Gulf. By mid- 
morning on 10 January the surf was so 
high and rough all along the XIV Corps 
beaches that unloading, having gotten 
off to an excellent start early in the day, 
slowed drastically and rapidly. Before 
noon Dukws halted lighterage opera- 
tions, offshore seas being so rough that 
the amphibians could not climb back 
on LCT and LSM ramps to reload. 
About 1330, LCVP lighterage also 
ceased. By that time many LCVP's had 
broached to or swamped, and one had 
tossed end over end onto the beach. 

About an hour later causeway dis- 
charge also stopped. By 1500 two pon- 
ton causeways had swung broadside to 
the beach, two were awash, and most of 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 



125 



the others had to be secured to prevent 
damage. Self-propelled ponton barges 
could no longer run; three LST's had 
stuck fast on the beaches and a fourth, 
broaching to stern first, had damaged 
a fifth. By 1530 engineer LCM's were 
the only craft still able to come through 
the surf at XIV Corps beaches, but off- 
shore the waves were so high that it was 
next to impossible to keep the LCM's 
sufficiently close aboard discharging ships 
to permit unloading. Finally, shortly 
after 1600, all discharge operations 
ceased along the XIV Corps beaches. 

In I Corps area the two Blue Beaches 
and White Beach 3 also closed down 
during the afternoon. At White Beaches 
1 and 2, on the eastern shore of the gulf, 
the surf was not so rough and discharge 
operations continued until dusk, when 
Japanese artillery and mortar fire again 
forced a halt. By nightfall the discharge 
of cargo vessels had fallen hopelessly 
behind schedule all across the gulf. 

Ashore, on the other hand, shore 
parties were able to make considerable 
progress in relieving beach congestion, 
although still hampered by a shortage 
of tracked and wheeled vehicles. As 
beaches closed down one by one, the 
shore parties turned to clearing opera- 
tions. Mainly by dint of manhandling 
— employing every man, American and 
Filipino, who could be found in the 
beach area — most bulk cargo was sorted 
and piled in dumps. But a dearth of 
vehicles, combined with bridge construc- 
tion problems, still made it impossible 
to move much cargo inland. 

On S plus 2, 11 January, the surf 
remained high and rough, but abated 
sufficiently in the afternoon for LCM's 
to resume lightering at the Blue Beaches. 
LSM's completed discharge during the 




Congestion at Blue Beach 



day, but this accomplishment brought 
mixed blessings. Previously, some of the 
unloaded LSM's, larger and more stable 
than LCM's, had made good lighters, 
but now all had to assemble for the trip 
back to Leyte. Lighterage also decreased 
as more and more engineer LCM's broke 
down — at Blue Beach 2, for example, 
only eighteen of twenty-eight assigned 
were still operational at dark on 1 1 
January. LCM maintenance became a 
major problem, primarily because a 
theaterwide spare parts shortage had 
made it impossible for the engineer boat 
and shore regiments to bring with them 
sufficient parts to assure continued oper- 
ations, especially during the beating that 
LCM's took from the rough surf on 10 
and 11 January. The few Navy LCM's 
present had the same problem. 

Actually, the engineer LCM's pro- 
vided the best lighterage during the 
assault. Army and Navy LCVP's were 
too small and light for the surf that 



126 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



arose on S plus 1, while LCT's and 
LSM's drew too much water to get close 
inshore except at White Beaches 1 and 
2. The LCT's also proved quite hard 
to handle in the rough surf. The engi- 
neer LCM's were the LCM(6) model, 
six feet longer and a bit heavier than 
Navy LCM(g)'s used at Lingayen Gulf. 
Although possessing essentially the same 
draft and capacity as the smaller Navy 
craft, the engineer LCM's were more 
seaworthy in the high, rough surf. 

Along the beaches on S plus 2 truck 
shortages remained acute, and in I Corps' 
area only 25 percent of scheduled trucks 
ing was available by dusk. Additional 
Filipino labor partially alleviated the 
shortage, but congestion remained severe 
at White Beaches 1 and 2, especially as 
more and more ships were diverted there 
to take advantage of easier surf 
conditions. 

At White Beach 3 congestion increased 
on 11 January as the convoy carrying 
the 25th Infantry Division of the Sixth 
Army Reserve hove to and began dis- 
charging. 8 The division had hoped that 
I Corps could furnish shore party help, 
but in co-operation with Task Force 
77.9, the Reinforcement Group, had pre- 
pared for its own unloading. Having no 
assigned engineer special brigade shore 
party, the division had organized regi- 
mental shore parties around a nucleus 
of one infantry battalion from each regi- 
ment, augmented by a composite group 
from division headquarters and division 
troops. The division had "scrounged" 



* Additional information on unloading the Sixth 
Army Reserve is from: VII Amphib Force Rpt 
Luzon, p. 17; 334th EB&SR Rpt, 11 Jan-13 Feb 45, 
pp. 2—4; 25th Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 13-14; TG 77.9 
Rpt Lingayen Gulf, Encl F, Comments on Loading, 
PP- »-3- 



two light cranes at its staging area, and 
Task Group 77.9 had borrowed eight 
5-ton cranes, complete with naval CB 
(construction battalion) operators, from 
the naval base in the Admiralty Islands. 
There, the task group had also secured 
100 lengths of conveyor belt, employed 
for handling bulk cargo, to add to 50 
lengths the 25th Division had brought 
with it and 75 more lengths that the 
ships of the convoy contributed. 

As anticipated, I Corps could provide 
little help, although the shore party at 
White Beach 3 did supply a few LCM's 
and the local beachmaster diverted a 
couple of LCT's to help Task Group 
77.9. However, Task Group 77-o's own 
boats unloaded most of the 25th Divi- 
sion's materiel, and the men and equip- 
ment the task group and the division 
brought along handled all cargo on the 
beaches. Unloading was slow and not 
a single transport, all scheduled for S 
plus 2 discharge, was ready to leave that 
night. The 158th RCT, which had an 
engineer special brigade shore party at- 
tached to it, unloaded with less trouble 
on Red Beach, immediately north of 
White Beach 1. 

All across Lingayen Gulf, LST dis- 
charge conditions improved on 1 1 Janu- 
ary, and by 1800 most LST's that had 
arrived on S-day were ready to return 
to Leyte, two days behind schedule. A 
few AKA's were also ready to leave by 
dusk. Ashore, much of the congestion 
at the XIV Corps' beaches and at the I 
Corps' Blue Beaches decreased rapidly, 
though the arrival of the Sixth Army Re- 
serve renewed congestion at all I Corps 
landing points. Clearing the beaches had 
demanded almost superhuman effort on 
the part of all personnel involved, and 
by evening on 1 1 January many officers 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 



127 



and men of the shore parties and the 
beachmaster groups had had but two 
or three hours sleep since they had 
awakened on the morning of the 9th. 

On S plus 2 an innovation solved 
many of the lighterage problems that 
the high, rough surf had caused. LCM's, 
LCVP's, and amphibian tractors and 
trucks began to discharge in protected 
waters just inside the mouths of the 
many streams that cut into Lingayen 
Gulfs southern shore. Given the weather 
conditions and the tactical situation, it 
would seem that use might have been 
made of the river banks before the 
afternoon of S plus 2, but as events 
turned out it was S plus 4, 13 January, 
before the protected anchorages were 
extensively employed. 

Cleaning Up 

As night fell on S plus 2, order had 
begun to emerge from what must have 
appeared to many beachmasters and 
shore party commanders to be the un- 
conscionable confusion of the preceding 
two days. If the weather did not take 
another turn for the worse, those respon- 
sible for discharge and beach operations 
could foresee the ultimate unloading of 
all S-day and S plus 2 shipping. This was 
a prediction that many Army and Navy 
officers at Lingayen Gulf might well 
have been unwilling to make twenty-four 
hours earlier. 

Unfortunately, during the next two 
days there was little abatement in the 
surf, and unloading proceeded generally 
under the same handicaps that had pre- 
vailed on 10 and 1 1 January. LST dis- 
charge continued to run far behind 
schedule, especially as ponton causeways 
were buffeted onto the beaches time and 



time again. Late on 14 January one III 
Amphibious Force LST, as an experi- 
ment, beached quite far in at high tide 
and unloaded through the shallows at 
low water. The method proved success- 
ful and was often used thereafter, reduc- 
ing the role of the causeways to secondary 
importance. However, with more and 
more LST's of resupply convoys arriving 
from rear bases, a considerable backlog 
of unloaded LST's developed by 1 5 Jan- 
uary, a backlog that persisted until the 
end of the month. 

For the AP's, APA's, AK's, AKA's, 
and merchant vessels, lighterage contin- 
ued to be a major problem as operational 
accidents and mechanical failures dead- 
lined more and more landing craft. The 
only compensating factor was that as 
more use was made of the protected 
river mouth discharge points all unload- 
ing accelerated. Nonetheless, most of the 
AK's and AKA's of the S-day convoy 
were two days late leaving Lingayen 
Gulf, as were those of the S plus 2 group, 
AP's and APA's of the latter convoy 
were also two days late departing. 

On S plus 3, 12 January, the Navy 
established more centralized control over 
lighterage than had been possible in the 
initial assault phases, when command 
channels had been necessarily much sub- 
divided. Beachmasters and shore party 
commanders were now able to keep 
better track of lightering craft and so 
could employ them more efficiently. 
Ashore, truck shortages continued to be 
critical. Fqr example, the I Corps' shore 
parties had expected the 6th and 43d 
Divisions to return approximately 220 
trucks to the beaches by the morning of 
10 January, but as of the morning of 
the 14th only 159 trucks were available. 

In brief, discharge operations were not 



128 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



an unqualified success during the first 
week. While the shelving beaches and 
adverse weather and surf conditions were 
in large measure directly or indirectly 
responsible for many difficulties, it would 
be incorrect to assume that there were 
no mistakes in planning and execution. 
However, despite the difficulties on the 
beaches, Admiral Barbey, the VII Am- 
phibious Force commander, was suffi- 
ciently impressed with the shore party 
operations to report: 

It is believed that the Engineer Special 
Brigade as organized in the Southwest 
Pacific Area is the most efficient Shore Party 
organization now functioning in amphib- 
ious warfare and that the permanent organ- 
ization of these [brigades has] contributed 
in large measure to the success of amphib- 
ious operations in this theater. 8 

It is perhaps sufficient tribute to all 
echelons to state that in the face of un- 
anticipated and unavoidable problems 
the Army and Navy units concerned 
with discharge operations at Lingayen 
Gulf ultimately accomplished their mis- 
sions. Certainly General Krueger, the 
commander with so much at stake, felt 
that all hands "did as well as could 
have been expected under existing 
conditions." 10 

Inland Supply and Construction 
Moving the Supplies From the Beaches 

For most of the first week of the Luzon 
Campaign, difficulties involved in mov- 
ing supplies from the beaches to their 
proper destination inland were almost 
as great as those encountered during dis- 



* VII Amphib Force Rpt Luzon, p. 30. 

w Comments of General Walter Krueger, 18 Dec 56. 



charge operations. 11 Bridge construction 
was the main problem in the stream-cut 
area along the southern shores of Lin- 
gayen Gulf, The assault forces found 
that most of the bridges from the gulf 
south across the Agno River had been 
at least partially destroyed by Allied air 
action, naval bombardment, or Japanese 
and guerrilla demolitions. Moreover, 
many of the bridges found intact were 
too weak to bear the weight of the Sixth 
Army's heavy equipment. Some bridges 
had been destroyed by MacArthur's 
withdrawing forces in 1941-42, and the 
Japanese had replaced them with struc- 
tures capable of bearing only ten to 
twelve tons. The Sixth Army now needed 
bridges of at least 35-ton capacity. 

Without bridges, the advancing infan- 
try depended largely on LVT ferries for 
supplies during the first few days after 
the assault — even the ubiquitous jeeps 
moved over rivers aboard LVT's. Initi- 
ally, artillery and tanks were moved 
south by a variety of expedients. The 
6th Division, for example, got two 105- 
mm. artillery battalions across the Bin- 
loc River, behind the Blue Beaches, 
using a temporary fill, while the 37th 
Division moved two of its field artillery 
battalions across the Calmay River on 
engineer LCM ferries. The 40th Divi- 
sion used Filipino rafts, ponton float 
ferries, and engineer LCM's for both 



11 The general sources for this section and its sub- 
sections are: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, igQ-42, 152; 
ibid.. Ill, 56—58, 113—14, 169, 243; ibid., IV, 8, 28—29, 
34, 43, 80; Army Service Command (ASCOM) Rpt 
Luzon, 26 Dec 44-13 Feb 45, pp. 11-18, 22-33, 391 
5202d F.ngr Constr Brig Rpt Luzon, pp. 23-29, 54- 
56; I Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 168, 195; 37th Div Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 19, 25, 193-96, 209-10, 303; 6th Div Rpt 
Luzon, p. 6; 6th Div G-4 Rpt Luzon, p. 15; 6th Engi 
Bn Rpt Luzon, p. 15; 43d Div G-4 Rpt Luzon, pp. 
3-7, 18; 1 17th Engr Bn Rpt, 8 Jan-4 Feb 45, pp. 1-2- 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 



129 



troops and equipment. In the 43d Divi- 
sion area there were not as many streams, 
and the division found the bridges of 
the Manila Railroad intact — all that had 
to be done to make the bridges passable 
for wheeled vehicles was to lay planking 
across the rails. Where no bridges were 
found, fords sufficed for the 43d Division. 

Conversely, roads were no problem 
except on the I Corps' left, especially in 
the zones of the 63d and i72d Infantry 
Regiments. There, bulldozers had to 
construct roads where none existed. 
Elsewhere, only occasional smoothing or 
filling of shell holes was necessary. Pend- 
ing the development of roads in part of 
its area, the 43d Division employed as 
many as 500 Filipinos a day in hand 
carrying operations and, as soon as air- 
fields were constructed, used airdrops 
extensively. 

Unloading delays made it impossible 
to begin bridge construction and repair 
as soon as hoped. Bailey bridge spans 
had been divided among several ships 
for safety's sake and came ashore piece- 
meal, making it difficult for engineers to 
find and assemble the necessary spans. 
Nevertheless, the 37th Division's 117th 
Engineers had a Bailey across the Pantal 
at Dagupan by the morning of 13 Janu- 
ary, thus permitting the division's heavy 
equipment to move on south. 12 The 6th 
Division's 6th Engineers built a Bailey 
across the Binloc River by the afternoon 
of 1 1 January, while elements of the 
5202d Engineer Construction Brigade, 
operating directly under Sixth Army 
control, had placed heavy ponton bridges 



11 To bypass other destroyed bridges in its zone, the 
37th Division sent its artillery and tanks south over 
roads in the I Corps area, routing them via Calasiao, 
Santa Barbara, Balingueo, and then back into the 
XIV Corps zone at San Carlos and Malasiqui, 



across the Binloc and the Calmay by the 
15th, providing similar crossings in the 
40th Division's area. 

Further inland, various Engineer units 
repaired existing structures to carry 35- 
ton loads or constructed new crossings. 
The 5202d built two ponton bridges 
across the Agno, one at Wawa and the 
other at Bayambang, by 20 January, and 
all available engineers constructed new 
timber bridges across smaller streams. 
Generally, bridge construction could not 
keep pace with the advancing infantry. 
LVT's and Dukws, not designed for the 
job, accordingly had to be pressed into 
service for operations far inland — a field 
expedient that hardly met with the ap- 
proval of many experienced officers and 
drivers. 

As events turned out, bridge repair 
rather than new construction took up 
most of the engineers' time. Thus, al- 
though the bridging problem in the area 
south to the Agno was formidable, it 

. . , did not develop to the proportions orig- 
inally expected. This was attributable pri- 
marily to the failure of the enemy to oppose 
the landing and his failure completely to 
demolish existing bridges . . . bridge re- 
placement was only 25% of the anticipated 
figure. TS 

Beyond the Agno, bridge destruction 
was much more thorough, a fact that, 
coupled with the slow rate of discharge, 
threatened to cause a serious shortage 
of heavy bridging equipment in addi- 
tion to an expected shortage of light 
bridging. General Krueger therefore 
requested that the Allied Air Forces 
cease its program of bridge destruction, 
and after 20 January the air arm limited 
its antibridge strikes to spans the Sixth 



11 Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, IV, 29. (Italics supplied.) 



130 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Army specifically wanted knocked out. 14 
Inland, the general shortage of trucks 
was ever more keenly felt as the army 
advanced southward. Few troops could 
move by motor and the infantry's rate 
of march therefore governed the speed 
of the advance. Even at this relatively 
slow pace, transportation facilities were 
strained to the utmost to keep supplies 
going forward, and supply levels some- 
times become dangerously low at inland 
dumps. 

So critical was the truck shortage that 
Sixth Army quickly began to devote 
considerable energy to repairing railroad 
facilities. The 37th Division was the 
first unit to get a section of railroad into 
operation. Casting around for some 
means of employing the Manila Rail- 
road, the division found the roadbed 
north and south of the Agno River in 
fairly good condition and located a few 
sound flatcars, but could discover no 
usable engines. Thereupon, the divi- 
sion's 737th Ordnance Company rigged 
a jeep with flanged railroad wheels to 
make an improvised engine capable of 
hauling four loaded 16-ton flatcars. On 
19 January the 37th Division's first 
"train" ran down the twelve miles of 
track from San Carlos — the division's 
truck head — to Bayambang. Two days 
later the unit acquired two small donkey 
engines from a sugar refinery and added 
another ten miles of track to its railroad. 

Meanwhile, the Engineer, Sixth Army, 
and the Army Service Command began 
rounding up experienced Filipino rail- 
road men and started to repair roadbeds, 



14 Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, IV, 43; Rad, Krueger to 
MacArthur, \VL-2g5, 19 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 
Jnl File Luzon, 18-20 Jan 45; Rad, MacArthur to 
Kenney, Krueger, and Kinkaid, CAX— 50069, 20 Jan 
45, Sixth Army G— 3 Jnl File Luzon, 20-22 Jan 45. 



rolling stock, and locomotives. On 22 
January the first train moved by one of 
the railroad's standard engines pulled 
out of Dagupan for Bayambang. Simul- 
taneously the road was opened from 
Dagupan northeast to San Fabian. The 
initial capacity of the lines between San 
Fabian and Bayambang was 200 dead- 
weight- tons per trip, a small tonnage 
but so important that General Krueger 
arranged for the Allied Air Forces to 
limit its attacks on rolling stock solely 
to trains actually moving within Japa- 
nese-controlled territory. 10 As units 
moved on southward, additional sections 
of the railroad were opened as fast as 
rolling stock could be found and bridges 
repaired. The job became more and 
more pressing, for it was not until March 
that the combat and service units on 
Luzon obtained all their organic trans- 
portation from rear bases. Even then 
the length of the supply lines continued 
to strain highway facilities to the utmost 
until port operations began at Manila. 
"The early rehabilitation of the rail- 
road," Sixth Army reported, "prevented 
collapse of the supply system [during] 
the advance on Manila." 16 Certainly, 
the rapid repair of the railroads, the 
employment of such field expedients as 
jeep engines, the use of LVT's and 
Dukws for extended overland hauls and 
as river-crossing ferries, and the many 
hours engineers devoted to bridge repair 
combined to overcome truck shortages 
and to permit units to operate along 
combat supply lines three to four times 
normal length. Although supplies were 
sometimes slow getting forward to the 



"See, inter alia, Rad, Sixth Army, GHQ SWPA, 
WL-G70, 25 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 
25-26 Jan 45. 

"Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, III, 58. 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 



131 




First Standard Locomotive in Operation hauls ammunition to front, 22 January. 



combat units, no serious shortages de- 
veloped. 17 Again, ingenuity and hard 
work kept the operations going and 
solved difficult, unexpected problems. 

Construction 

Work to satisfy the pressing require- 
ment for airfields at Lingayen Gulf 
began almost as soon as the first assault 
waves hit the beaches. 18 On S-day an 



" Col Ingomar M. Oseth, Hq AGF, Observer's Rpt 
on Opn of the Sixth Army, SWPA, 26 Nov 44—27 
Feb 45, 10 Apr 45, p. sj. 

18 In addition to the sources cited in note 8, this 
subsection is also based on: 308th Bombardment 
Wing (H) Rpt Luzon, 1 Jan-s8 May 45, pp. 4-g; Maj. 
Charles W. Boggs, Jr., USMC, Marine Aviation in 
the Philippines (Washington: Historical Division. 
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1951) (the USMC'S 
official history), pp. 66-67, arl( i n - P- l0 5! Craven 
and Cate, AAF V, pp. 416-18. 



engineer survey party determined that 
the Lingayen airstrip could be rehabili- 
tated by the time the CVE's of the Allied 
Naval Forces had to leave, but unload- 
ing delays retarded work until S plus 2. 
Even then, most of the repairs were 
made by some 400 Filipino laborers who, 
working almost entirely by hand, began 
filling bomb craters with beach sand and 
started clearing debris. With the aid of 
only three or four pieces of heavy equip 
ment, the Filipinos had the strip in 
shape by the afternoon of S plus 3 for a 
CVE-based fighter to make a successful 
emergency landing. It was 13 January 
before "formal" engineer work began at 
the site, and not until the 15th were all 
three engineer battalions assigned to the 
project ashore and working. 



132 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Other delays occurred when some lack 
of co-ordination or misunderstanding of 
unloading plans made it difficult to get 
discharged steel matting for surfacing the 
strip. First, the XIV Corps, responsible 
for getting the matting to the strip, could 
obtain no information through either 
Army or Navy channels concerning the 
whereabouts of the mat-laden cargo 
ships. Then, shortly after mat discharge 
had started late on the afternoon of 
S plus 3, the two ships carrying most of 
the matting moved off to an outer 
anchorage for the night, contrary to 
plans. The next day high surf hampered 
discharge, and by evening only 200 tons 
of matting was ashore. The cost of even 
this small amount was two Dukws and 
one LVT sunk and three men seriously 
injured. Risks were even greater during 
the night unloading, but had to be 
accepted since it was necessary to dis- 
charge a daily average of 700 tons of 
matting to meet the construction target 
date. 19 

By dint of almost incredibly hard 
work on the part of shore parties, engi- 
neers at the airfield, and Filipino civilian 
labor, the Lingayen strip, steel-matted 
to a 5,000-foot length, was ready for 
sustained use about midnight on 15 
January. C-47's began operations from 
the field the next day, when some P-61's 
of the 547th Night Fighter Squadron 
also arrived. On 17 January P-4o's and 
P-51's of the 82d Tactical Reconnais- 
sance Squadron flew in, as did the 18th 
Fighter Group's P-38's. Headquarters, 



'* The story of the mat unloading difficulty is to be 
found in an exchange of radios among Sixth Army, 
XIV Corps, I Corps, and the Luzon Attack Force in 
the Sixth Army G-g Journal Files Luzon, 11—13 an£ ^ 
13—15 January 45. 



308th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) , 
responsible for the initial conduct of 
land-based air operations in the area, 
was already set up. On the 17th, a day 
behind schedule, the wing relieved the 
CVE's of air cover and support duties. 

In original plans the Lingayen strip 
and another field in the area were to be 
developed into all-weather air bases, but 
since Japanese opposition was less than 
anticipated and since good weather was 
in prospect for the next three months, 
the Allied Air Forces, Sixth Army, and 
General Headquarters determined that 
two dry-weather strips would be suffi- 
cient. Construction of necessary all- 
weather fields could wait until the Clark 
Field air center was secured. In the 
meantime, it was still imperative to pro- 
vide a second field in the Lingayen area 
to move sufficient planes forward for 
proper air support operations. 

On S-day engineers of the Army Serv- 
ice Command had selected a site at Blue 
Beach for the second field, and Filipino 
laborers began work there on 13 January, 
followed three days later by one engineer 
battalion. 20 From the beginning of con- 
struction some engineers and airmen 
expressed reservations about the desira- 
bility of the Blue Beach site, for the area 
was narrow and had a high water table. 
On the 16th engineers also discovered 
that the subsoil was extremely difficult to 
compact. 

Already, another likely site had been 
examined in dry rice paddies about mid- 
way between Dagupan and Mangaldan, 
five miles to the east. Some work started 



™ Further information on the selection of the 
second site is derived from Rads, I Corps to Sixth 
Army, RM-69 and 2150, 11 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 
Jnl File Luzon, 11—13 J an 45- 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 



133 



at this site on 17 January, and during the 
next two days all the troops and equip- 
ment from the Blue Beach strip moved 
to the new location. 21 The Mangaldan 
strip, compacted earth without steel mat- 
ting, was ready for fighters on 22 January, 
and within a week was expanded to the 
length necessary for medium bombers. 
Fifth Air Force fighters and A-2o's, 
together with Marine Air Groups 24 
and 32, equipped with the obsolescent 
Douglas Dauntless dive bomber, moved 
up to Mangaldan by the end of the 
month, all passing to the control of the 
308th Bombardment Wing. 22 

While work on the airfields was under 
way, other construction had begun. The 
Naval Service Command prepared an 
advance PT-boat base, readied a sea- 
plane base at Cabalitan Bay on Lingayen 
Gulf's west shore, and set up shore instal- 
lations for shipping control and minor 
repairs. More extensive construction for 
naval purposes awaited the seizure of 
base sites at Manila and Subic Bays in 
southern Luzon. 

The Army Service Command soon 
discovered that the shores of Lingayen 
Gulf had no suitable sites at which to 
construct docks that would have the 
capacity to discharge large cargo vessels, 
and therefore abandoned plans to con- 
struct such facilities. Adverse surf and 
beach conditions also led to the cancel- 
lation of projects for constructing many 
smaller docks, lightering jetties, and an 
extensive fuel jetty system. At first fuel 



11 According to Boggs, op. cit,, p. 67 and n. 160, p. 
105, Col. Clayton C, Jerome, USMC, commanding 
Marine aviation on Luzon, had a large if not decisive 
share in locating the Mangaldan strip. 

"In addition to his other duties. Colonel Jerome 
became the goSth's base commander at the Mangal- 
dan strip. 



barges anchored inside the mouth of the 
Dagupan River. Ultimately ASCOM 
built a small permanent fuel jetty at 
Alacan on the east shore of the gulf, 
whence pipelines stretched to the two 
airstrips. Engineers also constructed a 
small jetty for unloading railroad equip- 
ment at San Fabian. LST beaching sites 
were improved, but most larger vessels 
discharged over wharves built along the 
river at Dagupan. The rest of the 
planned port construction would have 
to await the recapture of Manila. 

Logistical Command and Control 

The schedule for centralizing logistical 
responsibilities in the hands of the Army 
Service Command, vice the I and XIV 
Corps, could not be met, the discharge 
delays and co-ordination problems mak- 
ing it desirable for the two corps to 
retain responsibility until 19 January, 
four days longer than planned. On the 
date the transfer became effective, Army 
Service Command assumed most of the 
logistical support responsibility within 
a region designated as the Army Base 
Area, enclosed within an arc lying gen- 
erally three and a half miles inland 
from the gulf's shores. Later moved 
forward with the advance, this line 
also marked the rear boundaries of the 
two corps* areas of continued logistical 
responsibility. 

Within the Army Base Area, Army 
Service Command was responsible for 
traffic control, discharge and beach oper- 
ations, road and bridge maintenance, 
airfield construction, and all other con- 
struction except that assigned to the 
5202d Engineer Construction Brigade, 
which continued to operate directly 
under Sixth Army control. Establishing 



134 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



its headquarters at Mangaldan, Army 
Service Command took over the control 
of all other service units in the base area. 
Most of its operational functions, except 
for airfield construction, it delegated to 
Base M, which set up headquarters at 
San Fabian, with subbases at Dagupan 
and Port Sual. Shore party operations 
now centralized at Headquarters, 4th 
Engineer Special Brigade. On 29 Janu- 
ary, meeting its target date, Army Service 
Command assumed responsibility for dis- 
persal, issue, storage, and delivery of all 
Sixth Army supplies, responsibilities thus 
far resting with the two corps and other 
units. 

Until 13 February logistical operations 
remained under the control of Sixth 
Army, functioning through Army Serv- 
ice Command. On that date, as planned, 
the Services of Supply, Southwest Pacific 
Area, took over. Somewhat reorganized, 
Army Service Command's headquarters 
was redesignated Headquarters, Luzon 
Base Section, in which capacity it con- 
tinued in control of logistical operations 
on Luzon, Base M was transferred to 
the control of the Luzon Base Section, 
which also controlled other bases later 
established on Luzon. Still later, Luzon 
Base Section was redesignated Philip- 
pine Base Section, in which role it 
co-ordinated most Services of Supply ac- 
tivities throughout the archipelago. 

The Sixth Army's G-4, Col. William 
N. Leaf, had viewed the decentralized 
logistical control that existed before 
Army Service Command took over on 
19 January with some misgivings. He 
realized that completely centralized con- 
trol neither could nor should be estab- 
lished during the initial phases of an 
amphibious operation, but he was 
pleased when the service command 



organized centralized cargo discharge 
and reported: 

Centralized operation of cargo discharge 
should be effected at the earliest practicable 
time. This permits Army, the best judge of 
. . . requirements, to put the weight of effort 
where it belongs. . . , tonnages will be in- 
creased under early centralized control, and 
tactical units, thus released, will be enabled 
to devote themselves to the tactical 
situation. 23 

By coincidence, and apparently only 
by coincidence, the discharge rate at 
Lingayen Gulf jumped as soon as Army 
Service Command took over unloading 
control. Slowed by adverse surf con- 
ditions and the other difficulties that 
hampered unloading, discharge at the 
Lingayen beaches totaled some 20,000 
dead -weight tons of bulk cargo by eve- 
ning on 18 January as opposed to a 
scheduled total of 36,000 tons. The 
actual rate caught up with and sur- 
passed the planned rate within the next 
week and continued to exceed estimates 
thereafter. 

Colonel Leaf likewise welcomed Army 
Service Command's assumption of addi- 
tional logistical burdens on 29 January: 

. . . the issue of supplies should [also] be 
centralized at the earliest practicable date. 
The early grouping of supply responsibil- 
ities will do much to prevent waste of 
rations and unnecessary dispersion of 
ammunition. 24 

In this connection, of course, it is neces- 
sary to note that Leaf was thinking in 
terms of the Allied air superiority that 
existed at Lingayen Gulf on and after 
g January. This superiority permitted 
an early centralization of supply dumps 



Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, HI, 58. 

ibid., in, 169. 



THE LOGISTICS OF THE INVASION 



135 



that, under other circumstances, might 
have proved extremely dangerous. 

In regard to the logistical command 
established at Lingayen Gulf, Colonel 
Leaf stated that Army Service Command 

. , , was an unnecessary link in the chain of 
command and that Base M could have sup- 
plied the same logistic support. Since there 
was only one base [during the drive to 
Manila], the use of [Army Service Com- 
mand] interposed another headquarters be- 
tween the units to be served and Sixth 
Army. 20 

While Leaf's views on the existence of 
two supply headquarters at Lingayen 
Gulf seem logical, it is possible that the 
Sixth Army G-4 did not know all the 
circumstances that led to their creation. 
For example, it was the consensus at 
GHQ SWPA and Headquarters, Services 
of Supply, that the Services of Supply 
could not spare any officers of the caliber 
required for the logistical command in 
the large-scale operation at Lingayen 
Gulf. Accordingly, Maj. Gen. Hugh J. 
Casey, formerly Chief Engineer, GHQ 
SWPA, was selected for that command. 
Since it was not desired to restrict Casey's 
activities and talents to the relatively 
limited role of a base commander, he had 
been appointed to the higher level of 
Army Service Command. 26 In any case, 
the Services of Supply would have had 
to create some co-ordinating headquar- 
ters such as the Army Service Command 
when bases in addition to Base M were 
established on Luzon. Nevertheless, 
activation of Headquarters, Army Serv- 

• Ibid., Ill, 58. 

M Chamberlin Comments, 20 Jan 57. 



ice Command, probably could have 
waited. 

Sixth Army itself promoted some de- 
centralization, keeping the 5202d Engi- 
neer Construction Brigade under the 
control of the Engineer, Sixth Army, 
rather than passing it to the control of 
Army Service Command. The Engi- 
neer's reason was that the brigade's 
operations — primarily road and bridge 
construction and maintenance — had to 
be so closely tied in with - those of the 
combat units that it was necessary for 
the Sixth Army to control the brigade 
directly. 27 

Colonel Leaf's criticisms of decentral- 
ization and of the logistical command 
system at Lingayen Gulf were almost 
identical with remarks he had made on 
the same subjects after the Leyte oper- 
ation. 28 At Leyte decentralization had 
lasted even longer than at Lingayen 
Gulf, and an Army Service Command- 
Base K organization that had functioned 
at Leyte was an exact parallel of the 
Army Service Command-Base M estab- 
lished at Lingayen Gulf. Yet, whatever 
the defects of the system at both Leyte 
and Luzon, the system worked. It might 
well have been accomplished with less 
"red tape" under another system, but 
that the organization was considered to 
have considerable merit, at least by 
GHQ SWPA and the Services of Supply, 
is illustrated by the fact that it was 
also slated to be employed during the 
invasion of Japan. 

27 Interv, author with Lt Gen Samuel D. Sturgis, 
USA, Ret., formerly Engineer, Sixth Army, 8 Feb 57. 
18 Sixth Army Rpt Leyte, pp. ao6, 220, S43. 



PART THREE 
THE CENTRAL PLAINS 



CHAPTER VIII 



Redeployment and Tactical Plans 



The period 16-18 January was one of 
transition for both Sixth Army and 14th 
Area Army. For the Americans it was a 
period of planning and redeploying to 
fulfill General Rrueger's urgent desire 
to speed the pace of operations on the 
army left and to comply with new orders 
that General MacArthur issued directing 
Sixth Army to push XIV Corps on to- 
ward Manila more rapidly. For the 
Japanese, the same period found General 
Yamashita frantically trying to realign 
his forces for the better defense of the 
approaches to the Cagayan Valley and 
the Shobu redoubt. 

New American Plans 
Plans for Left Flank Operations 

Growing dissatisfaction with the prog- 
ress of operations in the I Corps zone, 
especially in the Damortis-Rosario area, 
played a large part in prompting General 
Krueger to formulate some of his new 
plans. 1 A catalyst may well have been 

1 This subsection is based generally Upon: Sixth 
Army Rpt Luzon, I, 20-31; I Corps Rpt Luzon, p. 32; 
43d Div Rpt Luzon, p. 12; 6th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 9; 
20th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 9; Sixth Army FO 42, 16 Jan 
45, Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, 1, 147; I Corps FO 2, 16 
Jan 45; 43d Div FO 4, 17 Jan 45; 6th Div FO 6, 16 
Jan 45; Rpt, Sixth Army G-3 Liaison Off with 158th 
and 63d RCT's to G— 3 Sixth Army, 16 Jan 45, and 
Memo, Asst ACofS G-3 Sixth Army to ACofS G-3 
Sixth Army, 16 Jan 45, both in Sixth Army G— 3 Jnl 
File Luzon, 15-17 Jan 45. 



the failure of the i72d Infantry, 43d 
Division, to secure Rosario and the 
Routes 3-1 1 junction on 16 January, as 
planned. 2 The Japanese had evacuated 
both locations, probably as the result of 
air and naval bombardment and long- 
range artillery fire, but on surrounding 
high ground they had plenty of artillery, 
mortars, and machine guns that covered 
all approaches. Col. George E. Bush, 
commanding the 173d Infantry, knew, 
therefore, that he could hold neither 
Rosario nor the road junction until his 
troops had cleared the nearby dominating 
terrain. 3 Wing, the 43d Division's com- 
mander, agreed, but while making pro- 
vision for a new effort in the Rosario 
area also planned to destroy strong Jap- 
anese forces, including more artillery, 
along the Rosario-Damortis road be- 
tween the i72d and 158th Infantry 
Regiments, since the road could not be 
used until the Japanese pocket was 
cleaned out. General Wing directed the 
158th RCT and the 63d Infantry (to be 
attached to the 158th) to devote all their 
energies to the necessary clearing oper- 
ations. Meanwhile, he limited the 173d 
Infantry to holding action with its left 



3 See above jch. VI, p. ioo,.| 

* Further information on the development of the 
43d Division's new plan is derived from: Entries 
timed 1030, 1130, 1140, and 1150 16 Jan 45, and 1250 
17 Jan 45, i72d Inf Jnl Luzon; Entries 45, 77, and 88, 
16-17 J an 45» 43°" Div G-3 J nl ' 16-17 Jan 45. 



140 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



and to securing the high ground immedi- 
ately north and northwest of Rosario 
with its right. 

This plan left open to the Japanese 
both the Routes 3-1 1 junction and 
Route 3 south to Palacpalac, where the 
169th Infantry was concentrating. With 
the prevailing fear of counterattack from 
the northeast — a fear certainly not abated 
after the events of the night of 16-17 
January— it was imperative that the 43d 
Division secure the road junction imme- 
diately. The division could accomplish 
this task within the foreseeable future 
only if the 103d and 169th Infantry 
Regiments were to drive north up Route 
3, simultaneously clearing dominating 
terrain east and west of the road. 

Wheeling left along Route 3, the two 
regiments would leave behind them a 
huge gap between the 43d Division's 
right rear — to be anchored at Pozorrubio 
—and the 6th Division's left, which was 
approaching Urdaneta. To fill this gap 
and to assure continued progress east- 
ward toward the Army Beachhead Line, 
General Krueger, on 16 January, decided 
to commit another major portion of 
Sixth Army Reserve. He released to 
I Corps the 25th Division, less one RCT, 
to take over a wedge-shaped zone of at- 
tack between the 6th and 43d Divisions. 
The 25th's left would be based on roads 
running east and northeast to Pozor- 
rubio; its right on roads leading southeast 
to Urdaneta. The division would first 
seize Binalonan and then secure Route 3 
between Pozorrubio and Urdaneta. 

The commitment of the 25th Division 
permitted General Swift, the I Corps 
commander, to lift his restrictions on the 
6th Division's advance toward Route 3, 
the Army Beachhead Line, and the Agno 
River. The division now directed its 



20th Infantry to eliminate the Japanese 
known to be holding the Cabaruan Hills 
and ordered the 1st Infantry to strike 
east to seize Urdaneta, maintaining con- 
tact on the left with the 25th Division. 

To provide added protection to XIV 
Corps' left rear and to gather informa- 
tion on which to plan future advances, 
Krueger directed I Corps to reconnoiter 
south and east across the Agno in its 
zone. He issued no new orders to XIV 
Corps, which would continue to consoli- 
date along the Agno, bring forward its 
supplies, and maintain its outposts south 
of the river. 

New Plans for the Drive to Manila 

Krueger intended to hold XIV Corps 
generally along the line of the Agno 
until Swift's I Corps could overcome the 
resistance from Damortis to Urdaneta 
and, having thus eliminated the most 
immediate threat to the army's left flank 
and base area, could begin maneuvering 
some of its forces south abreast of Gris- 
wold's corps. It would be impossible, 
Krueger reasoned, to completely over- 
come the danger of counterattack on the 
left until he could commit the 32d In- 
fantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, 
and the separate 1 12th Cavalry RCT, all 
scheduled to reach Luzon toward the 
end of January. Then, but not until 
then, would it be safe in his opinion to 
mount an all-out drive toward Manila. 4 

General MacArthur, having assured 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff that he could 
secure the entire Central Plains-Manila 
Bay region within four to six weeks after 



* General Walter Krueger, From Down Under to 
Nippon: The Story of Sixth Army in World War II 
(Washington: Combat Forces Press, 1953), pp. 227- 
28; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 8-9, 20-23, 



REDEPLOYMENT AND TACTICAL PLANS 



141 



the assault at Lingayen Gulf, 5 was un- 
willing to accept the two- or three-week 
delay in the drive toward Manila that 
Krueger's plan foretokened. MacArthur 
was by no means as worried as Krueger 
that the Japanese would counterattack 
the extended left of the Sixth Army as 
its forces drove toward Manila, and, 
unlike Krueger, MacArthur did not 
think that the Japanese would defend 
Manila. 8 

It is readily apparent the MacArthur 
and Krueger were basing their plans on 
different intelligence estimates. General 
Willoughby, MacArthur's chief of intel- 
ligence, had estimated that there were 
about 152,500 Japanese on Luzon and 
that these troops were scattered in three 
defensive areas — one north and north- 
east of Lingayen Gulf, another in the 
Clark Field region, and the third cover- 
ing all southern Luzon, probably ex- 
cluding Manila. Willoughby had further 
estimated that over half of the Japanese 
were located in the northern defensive 
area. 7 By 17 January, as Sixth Army was 
redeploying in accordance with Krue- 
ger's orders of the 16th, the army had 
over 175,000 troops ashore, at least 
1 1 0,000 of them classed as combat per- 
sonnel. 8 Given Willoughby's estimates, 
it is small wonder that MacArthur was 
unworried about the Sixth Army's left 
and felt that Krueger would have little 
difficulty occupying Manila. 

Krueger was basing his plans on quite 
different figures. His G-2, Col. Horton 
V. White, placed 234,500 Japanese on 



■ See above, | chsTT^ n ^ II.] 
* Krueger, From Doivn Un 



Krueger Commen ts. 18 De c 56. 



der to Nippon, p. 228; 



7 See also above, 



ch. II. 



8 An. 5, Tr List. an. 0, Assignment of Shipping, and 
an. 7, Loading and Landing Schedule, to Sixth Army 
FO 34, 20 Nov 44, Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 121-36. 



Luzon, an estimate approximating the 
actual Japanese strength of some 250,000 
far more closely than Willoughby's. 
White did not believe that the Japanese 
had as much strength on Luzon south of 
Manila as did Willoughby, and White 
felt that Manila would be strongly de- 
fended. Like Willoughby, the Sixth 
Army G— 2 estimated that about half the 
Japanese on Luzon were in position to 
threaten the army's left, but White 
placed some 50,000 more Japanese on the 
left than did Willoughby. 

In addition to his desire to seize Ma- 
nila as early as possible, MacArthur had 
other reasons to push Sixth Army south 
more rapidly than Krueger's plans would 
permit. Requirements of Pacific strat- 
egy, the theater commander radioed to 
Krueger on 1 7 January, made imperative 
the early seizure and rehabilitation of 
the Clark Field air center. 10 Kenney's 
Allied Air Forces manifestly needed air 
base facilities on Luzon far beyond the 
capacity of the fields that engineers could 
hurriedly prepare in the Lingayen Gulf 
area. Strategic air support requirements 
for Nimitz' invasions of Iwo Jima and 
Okinawa alone made it necessary to de- 
velop heavy bomber fields on Luzon at 
an early date. The Allied Air Forces 
also needed to expand its base facilities 
in order to carry out its part in blocking 
the Japanese shipping lanes to the Indies 
and to provide adequate support for 
ground operations on Luzon. Finally, 
the Lingayen strips, not being all- 
weather fields, would probably wash out 
once Luzon's rainy season began in late 

9 G-a Sixth Army, G_a Estimate of the Enemy Sit- 
uation With Respect to Mike One Opn, 5 Dec 44, 
Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, III, 27-31.; Krueger Com- 
ments, 18 Dec 56; White Comments, 23 Jan 57. 

10 Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CAX-50027, 17 
Jan 45, Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 112-ig. 



142 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



April. The seizure of the Clark Field air 
center, with its prewar paved runways, 
its new paved strips the Japanese had 
constructed, its proximity to presumably 
reparable rail and highway facilities, and 
its location relatively close to the port of 
Manila, would go far toward meeting the 
air base requirements on Luzon. 11 

MacArthur had all these reasons for 
believing that XIV Corps both should 
and could move faster. He suggested to 
Krueger that the threatening dispositions 
of the Japanese on the Sixth Army's left 
actually permitted a rapid advance at 
least as far as Clark Field on the part of 
XIV Corps. The theater commander 
right southward behind XIV Corps' left 
proposed that Krueger echelon I Corps' 
rear, thereby protecting XIV Corps 
while simultaneously containing — not 
necessarily attacking, it is to be noted 
— the Japanese forces on the army left. 
With such a plan in execution, Mac- 
Arthur continued, it would not be neces- 
sary to hold XIV Corps back until I 
Corps could push strong forces south 
abreast. Even determined resistance by 
Japanese in the Clark Field area, Mac- 
Arthur claimed, need not long delay 
XIV Corps, since such opposition would 
be "completely dislocated" by XI Corps, 
soon to land on the west coast of Luzon 
just north of Bataan Peninsula. Mac- 
Arthur concluded with an order to 
Krueger to "direct . . . operations with 
a view to the earliest possible" seizure of 
the Clark Field air center. 12 

At this juncture Colonel White, re- 
vising his earlier estimates, began to feel 
that the proposed advance of XIV Corps 

ll Ibid,; Craven and Cate, AAF V, pp. toe. 40 a, 418. 
43.1, 443-45, 448, 470-71; see also above l chs. I i nd|lll 

n Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CAX— 50027, 17 
Jan 45. 



might not be as risky as previously 
thought. By this time, the true pattern 
of the Japanese plan for the defense of 
Luzon had begun to crystallize for Colo- 
nel White, and on 17 January, about a 
week before Willoughby reached the 
same conclusion, White decided that the 
Japanese were not going to defend the 
Central Plains. He now estimated that 
XIV Corps would probably encounter 
no significant opposition until it reached 
Bamban, on Route 3 thirty-five miles 
south of the Agno River and just north 
of Clark Field. He guessed that the only 
strong Japanese force left in the Central 
Plains was the 2d Tank Division, which 
he correctly suspected was displacing 
northward. And even if that Japanese 
division were still concentrated near 
Cabanatuan, twenty-five miles east across 
the Central Plains from Route 3 at 
Bamban, White did not feel that it could 
pose too much of a threat to XIV Corps 
— the destruction of intervening bridges 
and Allied air superiority would see too 
that. 18 

Despite these encouraging estimates 
from his G-2, General Krueger still 
felt that considerable risks were involved 
in any plan to speed XIV Corps to- 
ward Manila. He knew that behind 
MacArthur's pressure was the theater 
commander's desire to appear in the 
Philippine capital at the earliest possible 
date, and felt sure that MacArthur had 
in mind his birthday, 26 January, which 
was also Krueger's. 14 Krueger was not 
so confident that XI Corps' landing 
north of Bataan would in any way upset 



"G-2 Sixth Army, G-2 Estimate of the Enemy 
Situation With Reference to Proposed Seizure of 
Clark Field, 17 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File 
Luzon, 17-18 Jan 45; White Comments, sg Jan 57. 

14 Krueger Comments, 18 Dec 56. 



REDEPLOYMENT AND TACTICAL PLANS 



143 



Japanese defensive plans in the Clark 
Field region. 10 Moreover, in closer 
contact with XIV Corps' situation than 
MacArthur, Krueger felt that the XIV 
Corps' supply problems alone would 
slow progress. Finally, I Corps was de- 
veloping so much opposition all across 
its front that Krueger believed the corps 
would be unable, as MacArthur sug- 
gested, to echelon enough str ength south- 
ward on its right to protect XIV Corps' 
left rear. Rather, Krueger foresaw that 
it would be necessary for XIV Corps to 
provide its own protection by echeloning 
its left to the rear, to this degree weaken- 
ing its striking power for the advance 
southward. 18 

Nevertheless, Krueger had to alter his 
plans in accordance with MacArthur's 
wishes, and on 18 January he issued new 
orders that provided for the execution of 
MacArthur's directive by stages. 17 XIV 
Corps, Krueger's orders read, would 
move its main strength up to its former 
outpost line south of the Agno by 20 
January. On the 21st, Griswold would 
push his right south along Route 3 to 
Tarlac, twenty miles beyond the Agno, 
and his left to Victoria, eleven miles 
northeast of Tarlac. Once on the Tarlac- 
Victoria line, the corps would make 
ready to move on toward Clark Field, 
leaving troops echeloned along its left 
rear to maintain contact with I Corps 
and cover a XIV Corps zone that Krue- 

" Kruege r Comments, 18 Dec 56. See also below, 
ch. |XV1I,] for XI Corps operations on Bataan, As 
events turned out, XI Corps was still fighting its way 
across Bataan well after XIV Corps had taken Clark 
Field. 

"Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 23; Krueger, From 
Dawn Under to Nippon, p. 229; Krueger Comments, 
18 Dec 56, 

" The remainder of this subsection is based mainly 
on Sixth Army FO 43, 18 Jan 45, Sixth Army Rpt 
Luzon, I, 147. 



ger now enlarged by pushing the I-XIV 
Corps boundary ten to fifteen miles 
eastward. 

Krueger directed I Corps to secure 
Route 3 from Pozorrubio north to the 
Routes 3-1 1 junction as well as the 
stretch of Route 3 west to Damortis. 
Simultaneously, to help protect XIV 
Corps' left rear, I Corps would advance 
its right east and southeast to a new line 
lying generally three miles east of Route 
3 and extending southward to the eastern 
anchor of XIV Corps' former outpost 
line. The I Corps would also send its 
reconnaissance forward to establish con- 
tact with XIV Corps troops at Victoria, 
and would then establish an outpost 
line running northeastward from Vic- 
toria approximately eight miles to 
the highway-railroad junction town of 
Guimba. 

The I Corps' task would obviously be 
the most difficult, but to accomplish its 
mission the corps had under its control 
the 43d Division, the 6th Division, the 
25th Division less the 35th RCT in Army 
Reserve, and the separate 158th RCT. 
The XIV Corps would advance south- 
ward through the Central Plains with the 
37th and 40th Divisions. 

Japanese Redispositions 

Until XIV Corps reached the outposts 
of the Kembu Group in the Clark Field 
region, it would meet no Japanese other 
than scattered remnants of the Kubota 
Detachment. 16 Yamashita knew that the 
western side of the Central Plains was 
wide open south to Bamban, but there 

18 This section is based on Japanese sources, on file 
in the OCMH, that were used in the preparation of 
and are cited in Southwest Pacific Area Historical 
Series, II, pages 438—43. 



144 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



was nothing he either could or wanted 
to do about it. Like Krueger, he was 
much more concerned with the situation 
east and northeast of Lingaycn Gulf, 
although for different reasons. 

By 16 January, I Corps had largely 
overrun the 23d Division~^8th 1MB 
outer line of defenses except in the Mt. 
Alava-Hill 355 area and on the Caba- 
ruan Hills. Yamashita had not expected 
to hold these defenses very long in any 
case. Moreover, the 23d Division and 
the 58th 1MB controlled such excellent 
defensive terrain in the Rosario area that 
Yamashita does not seem to have worried 
that Sixth Army could or would soon 
mount a strong drive toward the Baguio 
anchor of the Shobu Group's triangular 
redoubt. However, to guard against a 
sudden and unexpected breakthrough 
on his southwestern flank Yamashita, on 
or about 15 January, did strengthen the 
road junction area by dispatching south 
for attachment to the 23d Division two 
infantry battalions of the rpth Division. 
For the rest, the 58th 1MB and the 23d 
Division were to hold the positions they 
then had along and on both sides of 
Route 3 from Palacpalac to Rosario and 
Damortis until forced back on Baguio. 

The defense of the approaches to San 
Jose worried Yamashita far more. The 
direction of the I Corps' advances seem 
to him to pose a direct and immediate 
threat to that gateway to the Cagayan 
Valley. He also feared that American 
forces were about to drive on San Nico- 
las at the southern end of the Villa Verde 
Trail, the best alternate route toward 
the valley from the south. Still trying 
to move supplies and troops up Route 5 
through San Jose, he could at best take 
a very anxious view of the 43d Division's 
breakthrough along the 23d Division's 



outer line in the Manoag-Hill 200 area, 
lor the defenses of the approaches to 
San Jose from this direction were still 
woefully weak. Some units of the 2d 
Tank Division, concentrating in the 
Lupao area northwest of San Jose, had 
not yet passed through the latter town. 
Worse still, the advance echelons of the 
105th Division, coming north from the 
Shimbu area with five battalions of in- 
fantry, were still twenty-five to thirty 
miles south of San Jose as of 15 January. 
Something had to be done and done 
quickly if the approaches to San Nico- 
las and San Jose were to be held much 
longer. 

On 15 January, returning to a once- 
discarded plan, Yamashita directed the 
2d Tank Division to concentrate in the 
Tayug area, southwest of San Nicolas. 
The division would hold the Villa Verde 
Trail and the Ambayabang River valley, 
which, lying between the trail on the 
east and the Agno on the west, provided 
an approach to Baguio from the south 
and southeast. The 2d Tank Division 
would also assume control over 10th 
Division elements — principally the roth 
Reconnaissance Regiment — already in 
the Tayug-San Nicolas area. The 
Shigemi Detachment, still at San Manuel 
across the Agno west of Tayug, was to 
move up to Binalonan to cover the dis- 
placement of the rest of the 2d Tank 
Division. Ultimately, the 2d Tank Divi- 
sion would withdraw up the Villa Verde 
Trail to Route 5, reconcentrating along 
Route 5 to defend the southern ap- 
proaches to the Bambang anchor of the 
Shobu defense triangle. The 10th Divi- 
sion, meanwhile, would defend the im- 
mediate approaches to San Jose, holding 
that town until the io^th Division passed 
through on its way up Route 5. Then 



REDEPLOYMENT AND TACTICAL PLANS 



145 



the 10th Division would itself withdraw 
up Route 5. 

Yamashita could not execute these 
plans, for the 2d Tank Division reported 
that it could not carry out the role 
assigned it. The terrain in the Tayug- 
San Nicolas area, the division reported, 
was ill suited to armored operations. 
Moreover, the division's terrain recon- 
naissance parties had concluded that the 
Villa Verde Trail, the shortest route of 
withdrawal from the Tayug-San Nico- 
las region, was impassable for tanks and 
trucks. 

Another event forcing Yamashita to 
alter his plans provides a sad commen- 
tary on the state of Japanese communi- 
cations. On 17 January the 14th Area 
Army commander belatedly learned that 
the roth Division had never concentrated 
at San Jose and that it had made no 
real effort to dispose itself along the 
entire Tayug-Umingan-Lupao-San Jose 
defense line for which it was responsible. 
Lt. Gen. Yasuyuki Okamoto, the divi- 
sion commander, had decided that he 
did not have sufficient strength to hold 
the relatively open ground assigned to 
him. Most of his ygth Infantry was with 
the Kembu Group, the bulk of the 10th 
Infantry, greatly understrength, was at- 
tached to the 103d Division for the de- 
fense of northern Luzon, and, at least 
as late as 15 January, he had received 
no word as to when he might expect the 
attached Tsuda Detachment to arrive in 
the San Jose area from the east coast. 
He had therefore withdrawn most of his 
troops up Route 5 from San Jose and 
had started disposing them along the line 
Yamashita had intended the io^th Divi- 
sion to hold; leaving behind only a 
reinforced infantry company and two 
artillery battalions to secure the all- 



important railhead. Okamoto had di- 
rected the 10th Reconnaissance Regiment 
to remain in the San Nicolas area, and 
he stationed three or four rifle compa- 
nies of his 63d Infantry along the Tayug- 
Lupao line and in rising ground to the 
southwest. 

Faced with these unexpected prob- 
lems, Yamashita again had to make 
sweeping changes in his plans. He de- 
cided that the best thing to do was to 
accept the roth Division's redeployment 
as a fait accompli. He thereupon di- 
rected the 2d Tank Division, which had 
already started moving toward Tayug, 
to hold its main strength southeast of 
Tayug to protect the immediate 
approaches to San Jose. Leaving the 
Shigemi Detachment in the San Manuel 
area, the division would concentrate at 
Lupao and establish its Ida Detachment 
— a combat command built upon the 
6th Tank Regiment — at Munoz, on 
Route 5 about nine miles southwest of 
San Jose. Thus, both main approaches 
to the latter town — via Route 8 from the 
northwest and Route 5 from the south- 
west — could be held, and forces could 
be shifted between the two concentra- 
tions along a secondary road connecting 
Lupao and Munoz. 

Yamashita directed the 10th Division 
to complete defensive preparations in 
the area where it was already disposing 
itself; the 105th Division, instructed to 
speed its northward movement, would 
drop two of its five first-echelon infantry 
battalions at San Jose. There the two 
battalions, as well as the 10th Division 
detachments at San Jose and in the area 
to the west, would pass to 2d Tank Divi- 
sion control. The rest of the to 5th 
Division's first echelon would continue 
north up Route 5. 



146 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



To the northwest, there was one fur- 
ther change. As the Shigemi Detach- 
ment prepared to move west from San 
Manuel to Binalonan in accordance with 
the earlier plans, it found Sixth Army 
troops already in the outskirts of the 
latter Route 3 town. Therefore the 
combat command decided to fight it out 
at San Manuel, where it could hold at 
least one approach to the Villa Verde 
Trail. 



None of the rapid changes in plans 
for the defense of the San Jose area 
affected Yamashita's program for the 
employment of the 23d Division and the 
58th 1MB. These units were already in 
excellent position to hold the approaches 
to Baguio, a fact that became increas- 
ingly clear to I Corps as it continued 
to attack toward the Routes 3-1 1 junc- 
tion in accordance with Sixth Army's 
new plans. 



CHAPTER IX 



Securing the Sixth Army's Base Area 



The Fight for the Routes 3-11 
Junction 

The 43d Division, as it resumed its 
attack on 17 January to secure the junc- 
tion of Routes 3 and 1 1, was well aware 
that strong Japanese forces remained 
within its zone of responsibility. (See 
\Map 7/.T| The division and its attached 
158th and 63d RCT's had good reason 
to believe that hard fighting was in store 
before they reached the junction and 
cleared the terrain to the Army Beach- 
head Line on Sixth Army's northern 
flank. 

The Situation 

On 17 January, the 58th 1MB, with 
its ample supporting artillery, was still 
responsible for holding the Damortis- 
Rosario road and the Routes 3—1 1 junc- 
tion. 1 The 23d Division, commanded 
by Lt. Gen. Fukutaro Nishiyama, held 
the terrain along both sides of Route 3 
south from the road junction to Pozor- 
rubio. The division's 1st Battalion, 64th 
Infantry, was on Hill 355, while the 3d 



'Japanese information throughout this section is 
from: 43d Div G-i Per Rpts, io Jan_io Feb 45; 43d 
Div G-2 Rpt Luzon, Sec. II, Enemy O/B, pp, a-g; 
iogd Inf OB/ Rpt Luzon, p. 1, and atehel maps; 173d 
Inf Rpt Luzon, 9 Jan-13 Feb 45, O/B an., pp. 1-2; 
33d Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pt. II, Intel, Sec. 2, Enemy 
O/B, pp. 2-6: 1 4th Area A rmy Tr Org List. See also 
above, chs. VI and VIII. 



Battalion still held Mt. Alava. 2 The 
33d Division's yist and ysd Infantry 
Regiments defended the rising ground 
east of Route 3 between the junction 
and Pozorrubio. Here the terrain rose 
sharply to a ridge that begins at Hill 
600, two miles north of Pozorrubio, and 
stretches northward six miles to Hill 
1500, overlooking the junction. Hill 
1500 seems to have been the responsibil- 
ity of one of the 58th IMB's independent 
infantry battalions; the rest of the ridge 
was defended by the 2d and 3d Battal- 
ions, jzd Infantry, 3 and the 3d Battalion, 
yrst Infantry, The J2d Infantry also had 
some strength so em placed as to guard 
the entrance to the Arodogat River 
valley, east of the Hills 600-1500 ridge, 
in order to block that outflanking valley 
route. 

The 2d Battalion, yist Infantry, hold- 
ing defenses in the 6th Division's zone, 
was cut off from the rest of the 23d Divi- 
sion, which had as a reserve the 1st Bat- 
talion, yrst Infantry, located near the 
Routes 3-1 1 junction. Two battalions 
of the 19th Division were on their way 
south from Baguio to reinforce the 23d 
Division, and the total strength available 
to General Nishiyama was probably 



' The 2d Battalion, 64th Infantry, had been wiped 
out at Hill 200 by the 103d Infantry, 43d Division. 

3 The 1st Battalion, j2d Infantry, part of the 
Kubota Detachment, was cut off on the west side of 
the Central Plains. See above, ch. VI. 



148 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



close to 13,000 men. General Wing, the 
43d Division's commander, had well over 
twice that number at his disposal. He 
would need all this strength, for the 
advantages of terrain were still on the 
side of the Japanese. 

The terrain in the 23d Division's zone 
was varied, within the framework of an 
area comprising generally rising ground. 
The ground in the vicinity of the 
Damortis-Rosario road has already been 
described; west of Route 3 in the region 
between the junction and Pozorrubio 
the slopes were bare, but fairly gentle; 
east of the highway the approaches to 
the crest of the Hills 600-1500 ridge line 
were bare and quite steep. Deep, sharp 
draws separated individual knobs 
throughout the area, some thick with 
scrub growth including bamboo thickets, 
others grass banked and offering little 
concealment. Throughout the area the 
Japanese had well-established, sometimes 
elaborate defenses. They had enlarged 
natural caves, dug new ones, and con- 
structed tunnels to connect caves. Some 
artillery pieces were mounted on rails 
for easy withdrawal into caves; others 
were hidden in specially constructed 
nipa huts. Well-conceived camouflage 
and tactically sound emplacement of all 
weapons were hallmarks of the defense. 

General Wing's plan for securing the 
Routes 3-1 1 junction called for two con- 
verging attacks, both essentially frontal 
in nature. He did not feel he had the 
time, the strength, or the necessary 
knowledge of Japanese dispositions and 
the terrain to mount envelopments. He 
directed the 63d, 158th, and 173d Infan- 
try Regiments to attack from the west 
along the Damortis-Rosario road and the 
103d and 169th Infantry Regiments to 
drive north astride Route 3 from Pozor- 



rubio. 4 The execution of this plan 
would involve the seizure of four sepa- 
rate objectives: the Damortis-Rosario 
road and the dominating terrain imme- 
diately north and south of that section of 
Route 3; the Hill 355-Mt, Alava complex 
south of Rosario and south-southwest of 
the Routes 3—1 1 junction; the Hills 600- 
1500 ridge line east of Route 3 from 
Pozorrubio north to the junction; and, 
finally, the junction and nearby dominat- 
ing heights, 

Mt. Alava and Hill 555 

The 169th Infantry, 43d Division, had 
moved to barrio Palacpalac, on Route 3 
just north of Pozorrubio, for the purpose 
of seeking new routes of approach to Hill 
355 and Mt. Alava, 5 The regiment left 
one battalion on the south side of Hill 
355 to contain the Japanese on that ter- 
rain feature. The rest of the unit spent 
much of 17 and 18 January preparing 
to launch an attack against Mt. Alava 
from the east and southeast, and on the 
18th the 2d Battalion moved north on 
Route 3 toward Sison, almost four miles 
beyond Palacpalac. About two miles 
south of Sison the unit branched off on 
a new section of Route 3 that bypassed 
Sison to the east and rejoined the old 
road half a mile northeast of the town. 
The Japanese, who had perfect observa- 
tion all along the road, made no serious 
attempt to oppose the advance until late 
afternoon, when, as the American battal- 
ion secured the junction northeast of 
Sison, they began firing machine guns, 

4 43d Div FO 4, 17 Jan 45. 

1 The general sources for this subsection are: Sixth 
Army Rpt Luzon, I, 21-33; 43d Div Rpt Luzon, pp, 
12-23, 81-83, 43d Div G-3 Per Rpts, 17-31 Jan 45; 
169th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 5-6; 169th Inf Unit Jnls 
and Jnl Files, 17-25 Jan 45. 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



149 



mortars, and artillery against the i6gth's 
unit. At dusk eight accompanying tanks 
of the 716th Tank Battalion were sent 
back to the Route 3 branching between 
Sison and Palacpalac because they 
seemed to be drawing the Japanese fire. 

Beginning about 0500 on 19 January, 
a Japanese force composed of 64 th Infan- 
try units withdrawing from Mt. Alava 
(and possibly some J2d Infantry troops 
cut off at Sison) struck the 2d Battalion, 
lOgth Infantry, from the southwest. By 
noon constant Japanese pressure, increas- 
ingly heavy Japanese artillery fire from 
which the American troops could find 
no protection, and a concomitant threat 
that the Japanese might cut Route 3 
south of Sison, forced the battalion to 
withdraw along the flat, open land to 
the Route 3 fork where the tanks had 
bivouacked. As reassembled on 20 Janu- 
ary, the 2d Battalion had only 650 effec- 
tives left from a landing strength of 
over 1,000 men. Its combat casualties 
on 18 and 19 January had totaled ap- 
proximately 35 men killed and 165 
wounded; the broiling sun had taken 
an additional toll. However, the fight- 
ing on the 18th and 19th had not been 
wasted. The 64th Infantry, in order to 
keep open its line of communications, 
had practically denuded its Mt. Alava 
defenses and had lost nearly 400 men 
killed. 

Mt. Alava was now wide open to 
attack by the 169th Infantry, and that 
regiment launched an assault on the 
20th. By evening, the attacking forces 
had secured the bare crest of the moun- 
tain and the next day finished mopping 
up. The regiment turned its attention 
to bypassed Hill 355 and, employing 
two battalions, made slow and costly 
gains on the bare-sloped hill during 22 



and 23 January. By late afternoon of 
the 24th the 169th had cleared most of 
the hill, and in the process had killed 
nearly 500 men of the 1st Battalion, 
64th Infantry, and attached units. The 
3d Battalion, 103d Infantry, then under- 
took the reduction of the last resistance 
at Hill 355 and Mt. Alava, and soon 
developed a quite sour view of its 
assignment: 

According to many infantrymen, a cam- 
paign for a ridge system is "strategically 
closed" when the enemy thereon, having 
lost his last "battleship" and possessing 
only isolated groups of three or four thou- 
sand men and a dozen or so artillery pieces, 
may no longer be expected to invade suc- 
cessfully the western half of the United 
States, Once the enemy is beaten to his 
knees to this extent, there remains only to 
"mop up." 8 

At any rate, from 25 through 28 Janu- 
ary the io3d's battalion killed nearly 
150 more Japanese and captured or de- 
stroyed four 47-mm. antitank guns and 
seven 75-mm. and 105-mm. field artillery 
weapons at Hill 355. Three days later, 
having flushed a few hidden Japanese 
from Hill 355 and Mt. Alava, the battal- 
ion marched back to Pozorrubio to re- 
join its parent unit. The first of the 43d 
Division's four separate battles was over. 

The High Ground East of Route 3 

The 103d Infantry had secured Pozor- 
rubio on 17 January against scattered 
resistance, thus opening a supply route 
to the 169th Infantry. 7 On the 19th, its 



103d Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 36. 

7 Additional information for this subsection is 
from: 103d Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 13, 18-24; '03d RCT 
S-3 Per Rpts, 16 Jan-15 Feb 45; 103d Inf Opns Jnl, 
16 Jan-15 Feb 45; 169th Inf Unit Jnls and Jnl Files, 
24 Jan-15 Feb 45. 



150 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



elements further south having been re- 
lieved by the 25th Division, the 103d 
began to attack Hill 600, the southern 
end of the ridge line lying east of Route 
3 in the area between Pozorrubio and 
the Routes 3-11 junction. After frontal 
assaults that cost almost 100 men killed 
or wounded, the regiment secured a 
precarious foothold on the hot, grassy, 
open southern slopes of Hill 600 about 
dusk on 20 January, but was unable to 
gain more ground the next day on the 
bare terrain, which afforded no protec- 
tion from Japanese fire. That continued 
frontal attack from the south, at least, 
would prove costly was made clear in a 
shocking manner on the morning of 22 
January. An incautious grouping of offi- 
cers and enlisted men in the open at a 
forward command post on Hill Goo's 
southern slopes brought down fifteen 
well-placed rounds of Japanese 75-mm. 
artillery fire. Within minutes 4 com- 
pany commanders were killed and 2 
others officers were wounded; 7 enlisted 
men were killed and 33 more were 
wounded, many of them key NCO's. 
The 3d Battalion, 103d Infantry, had to 
withdraw from the hill to reorganize, 
and the 43d Division revamped its plan 
of attack against the Hills 600-1500 
ridge line. 

General Wing now directed the 103d 
Infantry to establish a line of departure 
along Route 3 and strike eastward against 
the northwestern slopes of Hill 600, 
simultaneously driving up the south- 
western slopes of bare Hill 700, cresting 
nearly 2,000 yards north of the top of 
Hill 600. The regiment was also to 
secure Hill 800, lying about 1,200 yards 
across an open saddle northwest of Hill 
700. The 169th Infantry, moving up to 
the iQ3d's left (north), would seize Ques- 



tion Mark Hill, a little over 2,000 yards 
north of Hill 800, and the 3d Battalion. 
63d Infantry, previously I Corps Reserve, 
was to clear Benchmark Hill, about 
i ,800 yards northwest of Question Mark. 
Once all these bare, steep-sloped hills 
were in American hands, the attacking 
forces would drive on to take Hill 1500, 
the southern crest of which lay 2,000 
yards northwest of Benchmark Hill 
across the scrubwood draw of the 
Cauringan River. 8 

The new attack — essentially a frontal 
assault up the bare, western slopes of the 
Hills 600-1500 ridge line — started on 
the hot morning of 25 January. On the 
far left the 3d Battalion, 63d Infantry, 
secured the west side of Benchmark Hill 
at the cost of 8 men killed and 28 
wounded. Then the battalion turned 
north across the Cauringan River to 
help the rest of the 63d Infantry, which 
had just moved over from the Damortis- 
Rosario road sector, to clear Hill 1500. 
Meanwhile, the 169th Infantry had cap- 
tured the open crest of Question Mark 
Hill, but left the eastern slopes in Japa- 
nese hands. On 27 January the 169th 
relieved elements of the 63d Infantry 
still holding the western side of Bench- 
mark Hill and then settled down to a 



8 4gd Div FO 5, 24 Jan 45; 169th Inf FO 2, 24 Jan 45. 
The 33d Division, later fighting over the same 
ground, knew QuesLion Mark Hill as Hill 1500, a 
name also employed initially by the 169th Infantry. 
The 33d Division applied the name Question Mark 
Hill to another height 1,500 yards north of the 43d 
Division's Question Mark and about 800 yards east 
of Benchmark Hill. The 43d Division knew the 33d 
Division's Question Mark as Hill 1800. The prob- 
lem of nomenclature is further confused by the fact 
that elements of the 33d Division also applied the 
name Question Mark to a height some 1,500 yards 
north-n ortheast of Hill 1800. See also below, ch. 
XXV. 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



151 



period of patrolling to hunt down Japa- 
nese stragglers and pinpoint defensive 
installations for air and artillery strikes. 

To the south the 103d Infantry (less 
the 3d Battalion), on 25 January, had 
reached the open crest of Hill 600 but, 
finding its exposed position untenable 
until heights further north were cleared 
of Japanese, had had to withdraw. On 
the regiment's left 82 men were killed 
or wounded in an abortive attempt to 
seize Hill 700 and Hill Goo's grassy 
northwestern slopes. Late in the after- 
noon patrols discovered that the Japa- 
nese had left undefended the saddle con- 
necting Hills 700 and 800. That night 
one battalion of the 103d employed the 
saddle as a route of approach to Hill 800, 
which the unit secured against a small, 
surprised group of Japanese. 

About 1500 on 27 January Company 
E, 103d Infantry, managed to reach the 
bare crest of Hill 700. Half an hour 
later all hell broke loose, to the accom- 
paniment of a violent tropical cloud- 
burst. Company F, 103d Infantry, which 
had secured a foothold on the north- 
western slopes of Hill 600, was hit by a 
strong Japanese counterattack; Japanese 
artillery lambasted the 2d Battalion's 
command post, disrupting communica- 
tions, firing an ammunition dump, and 
inflicting 19 casualties; Japanese infan- 
try struck Company E, which lost 15 men 
killed or wounded and had to abandon 
Hill 700. Throughout the following 
night small groups of Japanese struck 
intermittently at 103d Infantry positions 
from Hill 600 to Hill 800. The next day 
the 103d, like the 169th Infantry, settled 
down to a period of patrolling and con- 
solidating. The regiment made one or 
two further efforts to take Hill 700, but 
neither it nor the Japanese of the i~$d 



Division were able to hold the hill's 
narrow, exposed crest. In effect, the 43d 
Division and the 23d Division compro- 
mised on denying the hilltop to each 
other. 

The 103d and 169th Infantry Regi- 
ments had not accomplished their origi- 
nal mission of clearing the ridge from 
Hill 600 north to Question Mark Hill. 
On the other hand, they had secured 
much of the terrain immediately adja- 
cent to Route 3 in their sectors and had 
largely succeeded in denying to the Japa- 
nese the southern two-thirds of the Hills 
600-1500 ridge line, thereby protecting 
Route 3 from Pozorrubio north against 
direct and observed machine gun, mor- 
tar, and artillery fire. The task of elimi- 
nating mortar and artillery fire from 
more distant emplacements would de- 
volve upon artillery and Army and 
Marine Corps aircraft. The two 43d 
Division regiments would patrol to lo- 
cate targets for these supporting arms, 
simultaneously guarding their own por- 
tions of the 43d Division's zone against 
Japanese surprise counterattack from the 
east. 

The operations cast of Route 3 had 
cost the 103d and 169th Infantry Regi- 
ments dearly. Heat, fanatic Japanese 
resistance, and the necessity for attack- 
ing up open, steep slopes had taken a 
heavy toll until, by the end of January, 
each of the regiments' infantry battal- 
ions was down to little more than one- 
half of effective strength. Casualties had 
not been exceptionally heavy on any one 
day— except, perhaps, for the 200 killed 
and wounded suffered by the 2d Battal- 
ion, 169th Infantry, on 18 and 19 Janu- 
ary — but the cumulative total was such 
that the two regiments were badly in 
need of rest and rehabilitation. 



152 

The Damortis-Rosario Road 

Since one wing of the 43d Division's 
converging attack toward the Routes 
3-1 1 junction failed to accomplish its 
mission, it fell to the 63d, 158th, and 
i72d Infantry Regiments to seize the 
junction, but before the three units 
could do so, it was necessary for them to 
secure the Damortis-Rosario road. By 
17 January the 158th Infantry had driven 
approximately a mile and a quarter east 
along the road but then had been 
stopped at a defile through which the 
road passed at a point about 750 yards 
west of barrio Amlang. North of the 
defile a reinforced company of the 58 th 
1MB defended an open, grassy ridge that 
stretched northward from the vicinity of 
Amlang two miles to the Cupang River. 
South of the road, on the middle of the 
three ridges that rose in steps inland 
from Lingayen Gulf's eastern shore, a 
battalion of the 58th 1MB had halted 
both the right flank of the 158th Infan- 
try and the forward elements of the 63d 
Infantry, which had been driving north 
athwart the middle ridge toward Amlang. 
The 58th 1MB also had strong forces on 
high ground along both sides of Route 3 
from Amlang southeast two miles to 
barrio Cataguintingan, near which the 
i72d Infantry had reached the highway. 
The Japanese unit likewise held partially 
wooded high ground that lying north of 
the highway, dominated the town of 
Rosario and the flat, open farm land 
between Rosario and Cataguintingan. 
All three American regiments were more 

* The principal sources for this subsection are: 
43d Div Rpt Luzon, pp. u_ag; 158th Inf Rpt Damor- 
tis-Rosario, pp. 2-4; 158th RCT Rpt Luzon, pp. 
13—15; 158th RCT S— g Jnls and Jnl Files, 17—31 fan 
45; i72d Jnf Rpt Luzon, 9 Jan-ig Feb 4 K. pp. 6_o : 
173d Inf Jnl, 17-28 Jan 45. See also above ch. VI. 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 

or less stalemated, and further progress 
by any one demanded a breakthrough 
by at least one other. 

During the period 17-19 January the 
158th Infantry's leftmost units, gather- 
ing momentum behind close air and 
artillery support, cleared the ridge line 
north of Amlang against scattered but 
determined resistance. South of the road, 
on the middle ridge, both the 158th and 
the 63d Infantry Regiments made negli- 
gible gains. Finally, late on the 18th, 
the 158th and 63d made patrol contact 
about a mile south of Amlang and, co- 
ordinating plans, launched a concerted 
attack on the morning of 19 January 
against 58th 1MB defenses along the 
northern section of the middle ridge. 
The last Japanese defenses collapsed on 
the 21 st, and the 158th Infantry was 
then able to advance along Route 3, 
securing the road as far as a roadblock 
the 63d Infantry had set up about 1,000 
yards east of Amlang. The operations 
from 17 through 23 January (when the 
158th reached the 63d's roadblock) cost 
the two regiments roughly 50 men killed 
and 300 wounded. The 58th 1MB lost 
nearly 650 men killed during the same 
period. 

Route 3 continued southeastward 
from the 63d's roadblock, and a poor 
road, hardly more than a trail, looped 
south from the roadblock to rejoin the 
main highway just west of Cataguintin- 
gan. On 23 January, pressed by General 
Wing to drive along Route 3 to the 
i72d Infantry's positions, the 158th In- 
fantry dispatched troops and tanks east- 
ward along both the highway and the 
loop road, but gained scarcely 500 yards. 
For the next two days the i58th's prog- 
ress demanded laborious, foot-by-foot 
advances over and up open hills and 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



153 




Medium Tanks Support 158th RCT Near Damortjs 



ridges in the face of machine gun, mor- 
tar, and artillery fire, and it was not 
until 26 January that the regiment 
broke through to Cataguintingan. Now 
all that remained to clear the rest of 
the Damortis-Rosario road was to secure 
the flat, open two-mile stretch between 
Cataguintingan and Rosario, a task the 
17 2d Infantry had been about since 17 
January. 

In an exposed position on the open 
farm land near Cataguintingan, its sup- 
plies running low, the i72d had spent 
17 January patrolling and consolidating 
its positions. The following night a Jap- 
anese 155-mm. howitzer battalion that 
had been supporting the 58th 1MB at- 
tempted to withdraw to Rosario through 



the 173d Infantry's roadblock. The Jap- 
anese unit lost five howitzers destroyed 
and over 100 men killed. However, a 
single round from a howitzer the Japa- 
nese had managed to get into action hit 
the command post and aid station of the 
2d Battalion, 173d Infantry, killing the 
battalion commander, 2 other officers, 
and 14 enlisted men, and wounding 15 
more officers and men. 

On 18 January a company of the i72d 
crossed Route 3 and seized positions on 
the southwestern slopes of Hill 600, 
two miles northeast of Cataguintingan 
and a mile northwest of Rosario. Using 
the fairly gentle southern slopes of the 
hill, which was partially covered by scrub 
growth, elements of the i72d Infantry 



154 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



then occupied a bare hill, also about 600 
feet high, approximately 1,000 yards 
north of Rosario. From this hill the 
infantry, in co-operation with support- 
ing artillery and aircraft, could control 
much of the Rosario area as well as the 
southern reaches of the Pugo Valley. 
This valley ran north into the moun- 
tains to connect with mountain trails 
leading to Baguio, and could be em- 
ployed by the Japanese as a secondary 
avenue of retreat or reinforcement. 

The 173d Infantry marched on from 
the hill north of Rosario to Hill 606, a 
scrub-grown height half a mile northeast 
of the town and overlooking the stretch 
of Route 3 between Rosario and the 
Routes 3-1 1 junction. From a base of 
operations at Hill 606, patrols went into 
Rosario, finding the town mined, liber- 
ally booby-trapped, and defended by 
machine gunners and riflemen hidden 
in shattered buildings. The i72d finally 
cleared Rosario on 28 January. Now 
the regiment could abandon its exposed, 
tortuous supply route that wound up the 
ridge to Cataguintingan and employ the 
two-lane, concrete-paved Route 3 inland 
from Damortis. The 43d Division had 
completed the third of its four tasks. 

The Routes 3-1 1 Junction 

The final mission — securing the junc- 
tion of Routes 3 and 11 a mile and a 
quarter east of Rosario — featured two 
regiments in a converging attack. 10 The 
i72d Infantry struck from the north and 
northwest; the 63d Infantry drove in 



19 This subsection is based on: 43d Div Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 16—23, 78—80; 173d Inf Rpt Luzon, 9 Jan— 13 Feb 
45, pp. 7-10; i7ad Inf Jnl, 24 Jan— 13 Feb 45; 63d Inf 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 4—6; 63d Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 24—30 
Jan 45. 



from the south and southeast. The key 
terrain feature in the i72d Infantry's 
zone was Hill 900, the scrub-grown peak 
of the hill mass of which Hill 606 formed 
a southwestern nose. Hill goo lay about 
a mile and a half north of the junction, 
while the bare northern crest of Hill 
1500, the 63d Infantry's key objective, 
was almost the same distance east of the 
junction and dropped steeply away on 
its western slopes to the Bued River. 
An old stretch of Route 3, lying about 
half a mile east of the main road, hugged 
the bottom of the Hill 1500 hill mass, 
the southern crest of which lay approxi- 
mately half a mile south of the northern 
peak. 

Hills 900 and 1500 were so located 
and their defenses were so arranged that 
they had to be attacked simultaneously; 
neither could be held until the other 
was also largely cleared of Japanese. Ac- 
cordingly, the 63d and i72d Infantry 
Regiments launched a dual attack on the 
morning of 25 January. To avoid costly 
frontal assault, the 173d sent its maneu- 
ver force northeast between Hills 600 
and 606 and across the Pugo Valley to 
fall upon the Japanese rear on the north- 
western shoulder of Hill 900. Achiev- 
ing tactical surprise, the regiment cleared 
the northern and western slopes of the 
hill in time to dig in for the night before 
the Japanese struck back with two or 
three unsuccessful counterattacks. Dur- 
ing the next three days, driving mainly 
against the rear of strong Japanese posi- 
tions, the 17 2d Infantry banged, clawed, 
bayonetted, and shot its way south 
through the scrub growth of Hill 900 
against fanatically determined resistance. 
The last defenses fell on 29 January. 

Meanwhile, the 63d Infantry, attack- 
ing generally to the northeast, had sent 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



155 



its ist Battalion across the Bued River 
on 25 January to start a frontal assault 
up the open western slopes of Hill 1500. 
During the next two days the ad Battal- 
ion came up on the ist's right, and the 
3d Battalion (relieved at Benchmark 
Hill by the 169th Infantry) struck north 
across the Cauringan River and up Hill 
1500*5 bare southern slopes. The 63d 
took the southern crest of the hill mass 
on a 8 January, but left the northern 
crest and the eastern slopes in Japanese 
hands. On the 30th the i72d Infantry 
took over the attack at Hill 1500, subse- 
quently extending the hold to the 
northern peak. 

By the 30th, then, American troops 
had cleared the Japanese from most im- 
portant terrain dominating the Routes 
3-11 junction. Patrols of the i72d In- 
fantry had reached the junction as early 
as 28 January but, since the area was 
devoid of cover, made no attempt to 
occupy it permanently. For the time 
being, it was enough that the high 
ground overlooking the junction was 
secure — the Japanese could no longer 
send forces down Route 1 1 from Baguio 
to execute a surprise attack against the 
Sixth Army's left rear. 

The final operations to gain control 
over the junction — from 25 through 30 
January — had cost the i72d Infantry 
about 30 men killed and 150 wounded, 
while the 63d Infantry had lost about 
40 men killed and 270 wounded. Per- 
haps as many as 1,000 Japanese, the 
majority of them members of the 58th 
1MB, gave up their lives in the junction 
area during the same period. The rough, 
tedious, three-week battle for the junc- 
tion was over — the Sixth Army's beach- 
head was secure against attack from the 
north and northeast. 



Binalonan and San Manuel: 
The I Corps Center 

While the fight for the Routes 3-1 1 
junction had been raging, I Corps center 
and right flank divisions had pushed 
steadily east and southeast to secure 
Sixth Army's eastern flank and to pro- 
vide protec tion to XIV Corps' left rear. 
I (Map W)\ The first job facing I Corps' 
center division, the 25th, was to secure 
Route 3 from Pozorrubio south through 
Binalonan to Urdaneta, a total road dis- 
tance of some ten miles. This done, the 
division would drive on eastward to a 
second objective line extending from 
San Felipe, two and a half miles east of 
Binalonan, to Bactad, three and a half 
miles east of Urdaneta, anchoring its left 
on the bare foothills of the Caraballo 
Range, 11 

The terrain over which the 25th Divi- 
sion was to advance was flat and open, 
characterized by dry and drying rice 
paddies, fields for other crops, and some 
carabao pasture land, none of which 
provided any cover or concealment ex- 
cept along stream beds. The stream 
beds and a few irrigation ditches con- 
stituted the only obstacles to free maneu- 
ver, but at this season of the year many 
of the smaller streams were dry, and 
easy fords were available across those 
that still carried water. A good network 
of all-weather roads existed in the divi- 
sion's sector. Route 3 was a two-lane, 
macadam highway, while the east-west 
roads were two lanes wide and gravel 
surfaced. The only real transportation 
problem was whether the gravel roads 



"Sixth Army FO's 42 and 43, 16 and 18 Jan 45; I 
Corps FO's a and 3, 16 and 18 Jan 45. 



156 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



could stand up under the constant 
pounding of heavy military traffic. 

The division's first major objective 
was the road junction town of Binalonan, 
about midway between Pozorrubio and 
Urdaneta. The town was held by rem- 
nants of the Shigemi Detachment ar- 
mored force that had made the abortive 
counterattack against elements of the 
103d Infantry, 43d Division, during the 
night of 16-17 January. 12 Under orders 
to move up to Binalonan from San 
Manuel, six miles to the east, the Shi- 
gemi Detachment had evidently started 
its displacement on 16 or 17 January, 
but the movement ceased on the 17th 
when General Shigemi learned that 
American troops were within a mile of 
Binalonan. Thus, as of 17 January, the 
Japanese garrison at Binalonan was com- 
posed of a company of the 2d Mobile 
Infantry, 2d Tank Division; eight or ten 
tanks of the yth Tank Regiment; a few 
artillerymen manning two or three 75- 
mm. weapons; and some stragglers of 
the 2d Battalion, 64th Infantry, from the 
Hill 200 area west of Binalonan. The 
total force probably numbered less than 
350 troops. 18 

The defenses within Binalonan were 
of a hasty nature — trenches and dirt 
bunkers for the infantry, sandbagged 
emplacements under buildings, and 
earthern revetments behind which me- 
dium tanks were hidden hull down as 
pillboxes. With insufficient forces to 
man a perimeter all around, the garrison 
concentrated at the southern and east- 
ern sides of Binalonan in order to hold 



12 See above, |ch. vT] 

13 35th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. ai-aa; 161st Inf, Battle 
of Binalonan, p. 2. (The 161st Infantry's report for 
Luzon is divided into a series of separate narratives, 
one for each engagement.) 



the approaches to three bridges over the 
Tagumising River, which flowed south- 
ward past the eastern border of the 
town. 14 

On the morning of 17 January the 
1 61st Infantry, on the 25th Division's 
left, relieved troops of the 103d Infantry 
holding a perimeter a mile west of Binal- 
onan and immediately began patrolling 
toward the town. 15 The 27th Infantry, 
on the division's right, moved forward 
the same day from the vicinity of Mana- 
oag and secured Route 3 from a point 
about a mile south of Binalonan to the 
6th Division's left at Urdaneta. 

The regimental commander, Col. 
James L. Dalton II, delayed the 161st 
Infantry's advance toward Binalonan for 
a couple of hours while he determined 
that a raid against his rear elements near 
Manaoag had no significance. Then, in 
the afternoon, his 3d Battalion pushed 
into the northern half of Binalonan and 
cleared that section of the town before 
dark. Meanwhile, Japanese rifle and 
machine gun fire had stopped the 1st 
Battalion a block short of the Tagumis- 
ing River in the southern half of town. 
About 1730 a lone Japanese tank ran 
across the battalion's front, spraying the 
area with 47-mm. and machine gun fire 
before it was destroyed. Shortly there- 
after, five more tanks began whipping 
through the streets in the southern and 
central sections of the town in a com- 
pletely disorganized counterattack 
marked by wild firing in every direction 
by both sides in the affray. The 161st 



" 161st Inf, Battle of Binalonan, p. 2. 

" The battle for Binalonan is reconstructed from: 
25th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 20-22; 161st Inf, Battle of 
Binalonan, pp. 2-5; 161st Inf S-g Per Rpts, 17-18 
Jan 45. 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



157 



Infantry finally destroyed the five tanks, 
and the night settled down to a "static 
fire fight" between the infantry 
elements. 18 

With the help of three mediums from 
the 716th Tank Battalion, the 161st com- 
pletely cleared Binalonan by 1300 on 18 
January. In and around the town the 
regiment had killed some 250 Japanese 
and had destroyed or captured 9 tanks, 
2 75-mm. artillery weapons, 5 trucks, 
an artillery tractor, and large quantities 
of ammunition. The 161st lost 19 men 
killed, 66 wounded, and 3 trucks de- 
stroyed. For the 25th Division the cost 
had been relatively low considering the 
degree of control it had gained over 
roads leading to the east, southeast, and 
south. Certainly the cost would have 
been far greater had the main body of 
the Shigemi Detachment been in its 
proper position at Binalonan instead of 
six miles away at San Manuel. 

After the capture of Binalonan Gen- 
eral Swift, the I Corps commander, 
directed the 25th Division to move up 
to the San Felipe-Bactad line by even- 
ing on 20 January; secure crossings over 
the Agno River, which flowed generally 
southward in the division's sector; and 
then reconnoiter eastward across the 
Agno up to ten miles beyond the San 
Fetipe-Bactad line. 17 The job was a big 
one, for the division's front would ex- 
tend in an arc nearly thirty miles long 
from Pozorrubio around to the 6th Divi- 
sion's left and would have to be covered 
without help of the 35th RCT, which 
was still in army reserve. But Maj. Gen. 
Charles L. Mullins, Jr., the 25th's com- 
mander, was not too worried. He had 



enough information to know that the 
27th Infantry would encounter few Jap- 
anese, and he also knew that the only 
significant Japanese force still left west 
of the Agno River was the Shigemi De- 
tachment at San Manuel. He had rea- 
sonably accurate information about the 
combat command's strength and arma- 
ment, but he did not know that General 
Shigemi had elected to stand to the last 
man at San Manuel. 18 

Dug in at San Manuel, the Shigemi 
Detachment was hardly an asset to 
Yamashita's Shobu Group. It guarded 
but one approach to the Villa Verde 
Trail route into the group's final re- 
doubt — a poor road running east from 
San Manuel to San Nicolas and crossing 
the Agno River via a long, rocky ford 
that was nearly impassable to wheeled 
vehicles. A good gravel road ran south 
from San Manuel and connected with 
other roads leading toward the entrance 
to the Villa Verde Trail and toward San 
Jose as well. These roads south of San 
Manuel were well connected with Ur- 
daneta and other towns in the 6th and 
25th Divisions' sectors. The Shigemi 
Detachment could not withdraw east, for 
it had already decided that the long ford 
and the Villa Verde Trail were impas- 
sable for its armor, artillery, and trucks; 
there were no roads to the north; with- 
drawal to the west was already impossi- 
ble; and the escape route to the south 
was cut on 19 January when the 27th 
Infantry, 25th Division, moved into 
Asingan, four miles south of San Manuel. 

Not knowing that General Shigemi 
had made up his mind to fight to the 
death at San Manuel, General Mullins 



18 161st Inf, Battle of Binalonan, pp. 3-4. 
" I Corps FO 3, 18 Jan 45. 



18 aK th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 22. See also above, ch. 
VIII. 



158 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



considered the Shigemi Detachment a 
strong threat to his left that he would 
have to eliminate before the 25th Divi- 
sion could thrust across the Agno. Ac- 
cordingly, he directed the 161st Infantry 
to destroy the Shigemi Detachment. The 
ensuing engagement, given General 
Shigemi's plan to hold fast, had little sig- 
nificance in the broad scope of the Luzon 
Campaign. However, it foreshadowed 
subsequent encounters with Japanese 
armor and provides a neat, picture of 
25th Division tactical maneuver against 
armor employed as a purely stationary 
defensive weapon. 

San Manuel lies just off the southeast- 
ern nose of a bare, steep-sided ridge that, 
rising to a height of 850 feet less than a 
mile north of town, leads northward into 
the Caraballo Mountains. 19 Along the 
west side of the ridge lies the Aboredo 
River and its steep-banked valley, 
stretching north to connect with rough 
mountain trails leading toward Bagnio. 
East of the ridge is a lesser stream and a 
dirt road that heads northward five miles 
to the Agno River near the point where 
that stream debouches from its moun- 
tain gorges to begin its majestic sweep 
across the Central Plains. 

The stream east of the ridge runs on 
south through a steep draw on the east- 



19 The story of the fight at San Manuel is based on: 
161st Inf, Engagement for the Aboredo River-San 
Manuel Hill Mass, pp. 1—4, and atchd opns sketch; 
Brig Gen James L. Dalton II, Commentary on Reduc- 
tion of Strong Point, San Manuel, Luzon, pp. 1-7 
(this is the 161st Infantry's only report for the main 
battle); 161st Inf S-g Opns Rpts, 19-29 Jan 45; agth 
Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 716th Tank Bn Rpt 

Luzon, p. 67, 

For heroic action — succoring wounded while under 
heavy Japanese fire at Binalonan and San Manuel 
during the period 18-24 January — T/4 Laverne 
Parrish of the Medical Detachment, 161st Infantry, 
was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. 



ern side of San Manuel. A small drain- 
age ditch runs around the nose of the 
ridge on the north side of town, the 
southern and western sides of which are 
lined with deep, broad drainage and 
irrigation ditches. Dense bamboo thick- 
ets, some of which included large trees, 
grow along the outskirts of the town. 
The only fairly open approach is on the 
southwest, where the main road from 
Binalonan comes in past a small cemetery. 

The Japanese garrison numbered over 
a thousand men, with the rifle elements 
concentrated in the understrength ist 
Battalion, zd Mobile Infantry. There 
were 40 medium and 5 light tanks of the 
jth Tank Regiment, about 15 75-mm. 
and 105-mm. artillery pieces from the 
2d Mobile Artillery, a few 47-mm. anti- 
tank guns, at least 25 machine guns, and 
15 or more light mortars. The defense 
was centered on tanks in earthen revet- 
ments. There were 75 revetted emplace- 
ments in San Manuel, each ringed with 
rifle pits and at least one machine gun 
position. Initially, tanks occupied 25 to 
30 of the revetments, while Shigemi held 
out 10 to 15 tanks as a mobile reserve. 
Tanks and infantry could move rapidly 
from one revetted strongpoint to an- 
other. The Japanese oriented the defen- 
ses principally against attack from the 
west, southwest, and south, but they did 
not neglect the other approaches entirely 
and disposed their weapons in depth for 
all-around defense. 

Considering the tactical importance of 
the ridge north of town to both attacker 
and defender, it is almost incredible that 
the Shigemi Detachment stationed only 
a platoon of infantry there. The 161st 
Infantry made no such mistake. The 
regiment had to seize the ridge to secure 
its northern flank, to block the Aboredo 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



159 



Valley as a route of Japanese reinforce- 
ment or withdrawal, and to gain an 
excellent jump-off point for the attack. 
For the rest, Colonel Dalton's plan for 
the reduction of San Manuel called for 
a converging attack. The 2d Battalion 
was to make the main effort, striking 
from the north; the 1st Battalion, in sup- 
port, would move in from the west and 
southwest from the south side of the road 
to Binalonan. The 3d Battalion was at 
this time in corps reserve, but the 161st 
Infantry was strengthened by a rein- 
forced company of the 716th Tank Bat- 
talion and Company D, g8th Chemical 
Battalion, with its 4.2-inch mortars. 

By evening on 23 January, at the cost 
of 3 men killed and 5 wounded, the 
161st had secured the southern slopes of 
the bare ridge north of San Manuel and 
had set up trail blocks in the Aboredo 
Valley. The entire 2d Battalion then 
deployed along a line of departure north- 
west of the town in preparation for a 
dawn attack on the 24th. The 1st Bat- 
talion, coming forward along the road 
from Binalonan, halted at the last cover 
west of San Manuel. 

On 24 January the 1st Battalion's 
secondary attack started first, behind a 
fifteen-minute artillery and mortar prep- 
aration. The effort failed. Supporting 
tanks could not cross a tree-lined drain- 
age ditch on the southwest side of town, 
and Japanese 47-mm. fire destroyed one 
tank and temporarily disabled four 
others. A sixth tank was immobilized 
when it attempted to hurdle the ditch. 
Pinned down, partially in the open, hot 
fields, the 1st Battalion lost 6 men killed 
and 55 wounded during the day; the 
supporting tank company lost another 2 
men killed and 8 wounded. I.ate in the 
afternoon both the infantry and the 



tanks withdrew westward to covered 
positions. 

The first attacks by the 2d Battalion 
met with no greater success. Company 
F, striking down the ridge, advanced fifty 
yards into San Manuel, but a Japanese 
counterattack, spearheaded by three 
tanks, drove the company out of town at 
midmorning. The ad Battalion launched 
another attack shortly after 1730, with 
Cannon Company M7's and Antitank 
Company 37-mm. "guns in close support. 
At dark the battalion had a tenuous 
hold on the northern part of San Man- 
uel, and its supporting weapons had 
knocked out five Japanese tanks and re- 
duced the volume of machine gun and 
rifle fire that had been slowing the attack. 

During 25 and 26 January the 2d Bat- 
talion, supported by tanks transferred 
from the 1st Battalion's sector and by 
elements of both the 1st and the 3d Bat- 
talion, inched its way southward through 
the town, gaining two or three blocks 
across a front six blocks wide. Company 
B, attached, moved around to the 2d 
Battalion's left (east) flank and blocked 
the bridge over the draw on the east side 
of San Manuel, thereby cutting the last 
route by which the Japanese could evac- 
uate their tanks. Early on the morning 
of the 27th all of the 1st Battalion swung 
around to the 2d's left, and at mid-morn- 
ing the two battalions launched a co- 
ordinated attack southward behind close 
support from two battalions of 105-mm. 
howitzers. By dusk, after a bloody day's 
fighting at close quarters, the two bat- 
talions were abreast along the north side 
of the main road through town. 

About 0100 on the 28th the Japanese 
launched a counterattack against the 
regimental center with 13 tanks in 
waves of 3 or 4 each, Japanese infantry 



160 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



following. The 161st knocked out 10 
tanks; the other 3 and infantry survivors 
then withdrew into the southeastern 
corner of the town. Before dawn most of 
the Japanese left in San Manuel scram- 
bled across the draw on the east side of 
town and fled, but not before launching 
a final counterattack to cover their es- 
cape. At 0930 the 16 1st Infantry's two 
battalions resumed the drive southward 
through the town, and by 1330 San 
Manuel was clear. 

In a heroic but tactically unimportant 
stand the Shigemi Detachment had vir- 
tually fulfilled its self-imposed desire for 
annihilation in place. The detachment 
had lost 750 men killed; all its tanks, 
artillery, trucks, machine guns, and mor- 
tars had been either captured or de- 
stroyed. Probably no more than 250 
troops escaped, and many of them were 
unarmed and wounded. The 161st In- 
fantry and attached units had lost ap- 
proximately 60 men killed and 200 
wounded; the 716th Tank Battalion lost 
3 tanks. 

The necessity for the bloody assault 
on San Manuel is, perhaps, open to ques- 
tion. Colonel Dalton stated: 

The town could at any time have been 
by-passed to the south and blocked off. . . . 
no noticeable effort was made [by the Japa- 
nese] to hold the eastern exit of town, so 
that after three days' fighting [American] 
traffic could have passed unimpeded through 
the north side of town and on to San 
Nicolas. Two more days were required to 
clear the southern half of town. 20 

Yet common sense lent ample support to 
General Mullins' decision to eliminate 
the Shigemi Detachment before sending 



20 Dalton, Commentary on Reduction of San Man- 
uel, p. 4. 



his division on to execute all the mis- 
sions assigned it by I Corps. Mullins did 
not know that the Shigemi Detachment 
intended to hold in place— to him the 
combat command clearly possessed a 
counterattack capability and therefore 
constituted a threat to his left. As mat- 
ters stood at 1330 on 28 January, the 
25th Division could advance eastward to 
cross the Agno River in its sector with- 
out having to worry about the security 
of its left flank. 

Advancing the I Corps Right 

The chief responsibility for protecting 
XIV Corps' left rear during the early 
stages of the corps drive south through 
the Central Plains of Luzon devolved 
upon the 6th Infantry Division, I Corps' 
rightmost unit. The division's missions 
were to clear the remaining terrain to 
the Army Beachhead Line in its sector; 
drive south and east to an objective line 
stretching from Bactad, on the 25th Divi- 
sion's right, south almost fifteen miles to 
Cuyapo; seize and secure crossings over 
the Agno River in its zone; and recon- 
noiter south and southwest toward 
Guimba and Victoria to establish con- 
tact with the 37th Division's left. The 
6th Division would start to execute the 
missions understrength, for its 63d RCT 
remained under 43d Division control for 
the duration of the fight for the Routes 
3-1 1 junction. 21 

By 17 January, when the 6th Division 
started forward from the Malasiqui- 
Manaoag line it had held since the 14th, 
division patrols had discovered a pocket 

21 The 105-mm. howitzer battalion that normally 
supported the 63d Infantry was whh the 6th Division, 
but the rest of the RCT attachments remained with 
the regiment. 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



161 



of Japanese in the Cabaruan Hills, lying 
athwart a secondary gravel -surfaced road 
connecting Malasiqui with Villasis, on 
the Agno River six miles south of Urda- 
neta. The division also had reason to 
believe that the Japanese held Urdaneta 
and controlled the gravel road that led 
from Urdaneta three and a half miles east 
to Bactad. Indications were that strong 
Japanese forces might likewise be en- 
countered at Villasis, holding the Route 
3 bridge across the Agno, and at Carmen 
and Rosales, just across the river from 
Villasis. 

The Cabaruan Hills 

Crossed by the Army Beachhead Line, 
the Cabaruan Hills formed a low barrier 
approximately four miles square that 
dominated the approaches to Route 3 
and the Agno River east and south of the 
6th Division. With few heights over aoo 
feet, the hills were covered with bamboo 
thickets, scattered palms, a few patches 
of scrub growth, and open fields. Shal- 
low valleys, either grassy or cultivated, 
separated individual knolls and afforded 
little opportunity for covered or con- 
cealed approach to Japanese defenses, 22 

Originally, the Cabaruan Hills had 
been the southern anchor of the 23d 
Division's outer defense line. The gar- 
rison, known as the Omori Detachment, 
was built around the 2d Battalion, yist 
Infantry, and numbered about 1,500 
troops. Reinforcing units included a 
battery of 75-mm. artillery, two or three 
medium tanks, various service units, and 
the Gun Company, yist Infantry. De- 
fenses, under preparation for some time, 
were concentrated in the northwestern 



"6th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 8. 



section of the hills in an area immedi- 
ately west of the town of Cabaruan 
which lay at the north-central edge of 
the hills. 23 

As had been the case with the Shigemi 
Detachment, it might have been possible 
to bypass the Omori Detachment and 
contain it with minimum forces. Maj. 
Gen. Edwin D, Patrick, the 6th Division 
commander, seems to have had such a 
plan in mind. 24 He apparently hoped 
that a hard attack by the 20th Infantry, 
on his division's right, could overcome 
most of the Japanese resistance in two 
or three days. Then he could leave a 
single battalion behind to mop up while 
the rest of the division pushed on to the 
Bactad-Cuyapo objective line. 25 

In preparation for its attack, the 20th 
Infantry had slowly moved troops into 
the hills until, at dawn on the 17th, the 
1st Battalion was in the center of the 
hills, where a north-south trail crossed 
the road to Villasis; the 2d Battalion, 
which was to make the main effort, was 
at barrio Lunec, at the hills' northwest- 
ern corner; the 3d Battalion was in 
reserve off the west-central edge of the 
terrain complex. By evening on the 
18th, the 2d Battalion had reached a low 
ridge line about 2,500 yards west of the 
town of Cabaruan and had determined 
that the center of resistance lay in a 
U-shaped group of knolls and ridges 
1,000 to 1,500 yards to its front. While 
the 20th Infantry clearly had not yet 

15 SWPA Hist Series, II, 436, n. 9; 6th Div, Sp Rpt, 
The Battle of the Cabaruan Hills, p. 11. The Omori 
Detachment was named after the infantry battalion 
commander. 

"The rest of this subsection is mainly based on: 
6th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 8-16; 6th Div, Battle of 
Cabaruan Hills, pp. 1-13; 20th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 
9—16; 1st Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 12—18. 

"See, for this idea, 6th Div FO's 5, 6, 7, and 8, 
respectively dated 15, 16, 18, and 19 Jan 45. 



162 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



reached the main defenses, the attack 
had so far gone easier than anticipated, 
and General Patrick expected that the 
regiment could complete its task by dark 
on the 19th, 28 It had better, for I Corps 
had directed the 6th Division to get to 
the Bactad-Cuyapo line by dusk on the 

20th. 2T 

Despite a setback during the after- 
noon, operations on 19 January seemed 
to meet with success. By evening of that 
day over 500 Japanese had been killed 
throughout the hills, and the 20th Infan- 
try estimated that not more than 300 
were left in the northwest pocket. Since 
it appeared that little further effort 
would be required to overcome the last 
opposition, General Patrick directed the 
20th Infantry to pull two of its battalions 
out of the hills. The remainder of the 
regiment, reinforced by a company of 
4.2-inch mortars and one of medium 
tanks from the 44th Tank Battalion, 
would finish mopping up. 

Probing slowly through the roughest 
ground in the Gabaruan Hills on 20 and 
21 January, the 20th Infantry's rein- 
forced battalion jumped off in the morn- 
ing of the 22d in what was expected to 
be the last attack, its way paved by an 
especially heavy artillery and air bom- 
bardment. But from the start, operations 
on 22 January did not go as planned. 
The air strike, conducted by Fifth Air 
Force A-20's was four hours late, sub- 
jecting the infantry to "a nerve racking 
wait," 28 and did not include requested 
napalm. Air and artillery concentra- 
tions were, however, well placed, and it 
seemed improbable to the waiting infan- 



6th Div FO 7, 18 Jan 45. 
I Corps FO 3. 18 Jan 45. 
6th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 12 



try that many Japanese could have lived 
through them. A combined tank-infan- 
try assault began about 1230 and pro- 
ceeded slowly but steadily for almost two 
hours. Then the attackers were stopped 
cold by a tremendous burst of rifle, 
machine gun, and light artillery fire 
from the very hillsides that had received 
the weight of the bombardments. Com- 
pany E, in the lead, fell back; Company 
G's officers were all either killed or 
wounded, and the company was tempo- 
rarily scattered; Company F was pinned 
in place; two supporting tanks were 
knocked out; casualties mounted quickly 
to 10 men killed and 35 wounded. 

As early as 20 January the 20th Infan- 
try had estimated that one reinforced 
battalion was too weak for the task at 
hand and had asked that another battal- 
ion be committed. Col. Washington M. 
Ives, Jr., the regimental commander, re- 
quested that he be given at least an addi- 
tional rifle company and followed his 
request with a report that 600 Japanese 
remained in the Cabaruan Hills. 29 
Greatly perturbed by the implied delay 
to a general advance south and east that 
the 20th Infantry's request and estimate 
brought up, General Patrick directed the 
1st Infantry to send one battalion to rein- 
force Colonel Ives, a redeployment made 
possible because the 1st Infantry had en- 
countered only scattered resistance in its 
sector. 30 

On 24 January the reorganized 2d 
Battalion of the 20th Infantry held in 
place as the newly arrived battalion of 
the 1st Infantry took up the attack. The 



w Entry 20, 20th Inf Unit Jnl, 20-21 Jan 45; Entry 
34, 20th Inf Unit Jnl, ai-aa Jan 45; Entry 10, 20th 
Inf Unit Jnl, 22-23 J an 45! Entry 41, 6th Div G-g 
Jnl, 22 Jan 45; 20th Inf S-g Per Rpt 15, 22-23 I an 45- 

30 Entries 48 and 49, 6th Div G-g Jnl, 22 Jan 45. 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



163 



J* 



Watching and Waiting in Cabaruan Hills 



ist Infantry's battalion made limited 
gains, but had closed with the main de- 
fenses by dark. Prospects for quick suc- 
cess seemed so much brighter that the 
20th Infantry's elements were withdrawn 
from the hills. 

General Krueger had by now taken a 
direct interest in the fight and on the 
24th directed General Swift, I Corps 
commander, "to promptly eliminate" the 
remaining opposition in the Cabaruan 
Hills lest the 6th Division and, concomit- 
antly, XIV Corps, be further delayed. 31 
General Swift relayed the message to 



11 Rad, Krueger to Swift, \VL_558, 24 Jan 45, Sixth 
Army G— 3 Jnl File Luzon, 22—24 J an 45* 



General Patrick, who reported to the 
corps commander that the ist Infantry 
could probably clear up the last resis- 
tance in another day. There were only 
a hundred Japanese left alive in the last 
pocket, Patrick estimated, and there 
seemed no necessity to commit additional 
troops. 82 

The 1 st Infantry's battalion attacked 
again on the 25th but by nightfall had 
gained only 300 yards of new ground 
against determined resistance. Neverthe- 



32 Telecon, CG I Corps and AGofS Sixth Army, 25 
Jan 45, Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 24-25 Jan 
45; Telecon, G-3 fith Div and G-3 I Corps, 1940 24 
Jan 45, 6th Div G-g Jnl File, 24 Jan 45; Entry 46, 
fith Div G-3 Jnl, 25 Jan 45. 



164 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



less, about 1830 General Patrick reported 
to General Swift that organized resistance 
in the Cabaruan Hills was over, an esti- 
mate with which the 1st Infantry did 
not agree. Instead, the regiment be- 
lieved that 150 to 200 Japanese still held 
strong positions and requested that be- 
fore resuming the attack its assault bat- 
talion be reinforced with ten to twelve 
flame thrower teams. 33 Action on 26 
January proved the 1st Infantry right. 
During the morning the battalion gained 
only 150 yards at the cost of 12 men 
killed, 12 wounded, and a tank destroyed. 
General Patrick thereupon directed the 
regiment to move another battalion into 
the hills for a co-ordinated attack on the 
27th. 34 

The two-battalion attack was success- 
ful and by 1600 on 28 January the 1st 
Infantry had overcome all resistance in 
the Cabaruan Hills. In the last two days, 
the 1st Infantry's battalion lost approxi- 
mately 20 men killed and 50 wounded 
while killing an additional 225 Japanese, 
A final summation disclosed that over 
1,400 Japanese had been killed in the 
hills between 17 and 28 January. The 
6th Division's units engaged there had 
lost about 80 men killed and nearly 200 
wounded. The Omori Detachment had 
indeed fought to the death, but while it 
had done so the bulk of the 6th Division 
had swept around and beyond it. 

Urdaneta to Cuyapo 

On 17 January, while the 20th Infan- 
try started closing in on the Omori De- 
tachment, the 1st Infantry began to 
advance toward Urdaneta from the west 



"Entries 93 and 111, 6th Div G— 3 Jnl, 35 Jan 45, 
" Entry 41, 6th Div G-3 Jnl, 26 Jan 45. 



and northwest. 35 At Urdaneta a small out- 
post of the Shigemi Detachment put up 
a fight strikingly similar to that in which 
the 161st Infantry, 25th Division, had 
engaged at Binalonan. The 1st Infantry 
lost about 5 men killed and 15 wounded 
at Urdaneta; the Shigemi Detachment 
lost over 100 men killed and another g 
tanks destroyed. 

Relieved at Urdaneta by elements of 
the 25th Division on 19 January, the 1st 
Infantry sped southward along Route 3 
toward Villasis and the Agno River, six 
miles distant. That day the regiment oc- 
cupied Villasis against no resistance and 
moved across the river to secure Carmen. 
It also took Rosales, on Route 8 about 
three miles east of Carmen, again against 
no opposition. On the 20th, a battalion 
of the 1st Infantry continued eastward 
along gravel-surfaced Route 8 another 
three miles to Balungao, which guerrillas 
already occupied. Balungao was located 
on the Bactad-Cuyapo objective line 
about midway between the latter two 
towns. Less elements sent back to the 
Cabaruan Hills, the 1st Infantry held the 
Rosales-Villasis-Balungao area until 28 
January. 

Meanwhile, the battalions of the 20th 
Infantry, as they were released from the 
Cabaruan Hills, moved south and south- 
east through Villasis to Cuyapo, taking 
the latter town on 20 January. The 6th 
Division had thus secured its portion of 
the I Corps' objective line and was 
ready to go on to the corps reconnais- 
sance line, which extended from Victoria, 
on the I-XIV boundary fourteen miles 
south of Cuyapo, northeast about eight 
miles to Guimba, in turn some ten miles 

35 This subsection is based on: 6th Div Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 6—18; 1st Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 9—12; 20th Inf Rpt 
Luzon, p. 18; 6th Cav Ren Tr Rpt Luzon, pp. 9— 20. 



SECURING THE SIXTH ARMY'S BASE AREA 



165 



southeast of Cuyapo. The 6th Recon- 
naissance Troop had reached Guimba on 
20 January and had made contact with 
XIV Corps patrols at Victoria the same 
day, but until the resistance in the 
Cabaruan Hills was cleaned up, the 6th 
Division was unable to move stronger 
forces south and southeast from Cuyapo. 

The Achievements Analyzed 

For the Japanese forces holding posi- 
tions along the Sixth Army's left flank, 
the defense as conducted since g January 
had not been without its bright spots. 
The 23d Division and 58th 1MB had 
held the Routes 3-1 1 junction against 
heavy odds for almost two weeks, and in 
so doing had inflicted many casualties 
upon I Corps. Despite the loss of the en- 
trance to Route ii, Baguio— the south- 
western anchor of the Shobu Group's 
final redoubt — seemed secure for some 
time to come, and Sixth Army had not 
yet gained contact with the strongest 
defense forces holding in front of San 
Jose — gateway to the approaches to the 
group's southeastern anchor. 

On the other hand, Japanese losses in 
man and materiel had been staggering. 
The 23d Division was little more than 
half its original strength; nearly two- 
thirds of the 58th 1MB and attached 
artillery were casualties. The regiments 
of the 23d Division would fight again, 
but their ranks would be filled by ill- 
trained replacements or would be 
brought partially up to strength by the 
attachment of third-class provisional 
units. Of even greater significance was 
the loss of most of the 23d Division and 
58th 1MB artillery, together with numer- 
ous trucks and large stores of ammuni- 
tion and other supplies. In fact the 



units' losses had forced Yamashita to the 
conclusion that a protracted attempt to 
hold the Routes 3-11 junction would 
have been futile. On or about 23 Janu- 
ary he had, accordingly, instructed the 
23d Division to make preparations to 
withdraw further up Route 1 1 . The with- 
drawal was not well under way by 28 
January, but the beginnings of the re- 
treat had probably rendered easier the 
tasks of the reinforced 43d Division on 
the I Corps left. 36 

To the south the picture was not so 
bright for the Japanese. By their fight to 
the death in place, the Omori and 
Shigemi Detachments had deprived the 
Shobu Group of a reinforced infantry 
battalion and an armored combat com- 
mand. The slight delay the two units 
imposed upon I Corps was hardly com- 
mensurate with the loss of first-line 
troops and valuable combat equipment 
that could have been used to better ad- 
vantage elsewhere. The fantastic stands 
of both detachments are illustrative of 
a sort of tour de force to which the Japa- 
nese Army seemed peculiarly addicted 
during World War II, but neither stand 
had much significance. 

It is true that during the time the 6th 
and 25th Divisions were fighting against 
the Omori and Shigemi Detachments, 
the Shobu Group was able to redeploy 
forces further east for the more effective 
defense of San Jose, 37 but the oppor- 
tunity for the redeployment was only an 
incidental and accidental result of the 
Omori and Shigemi Detachment stands. 
Theoretically, the 6th and 25th Divi- 



* 43d Div G-2 Rpt Luzon, Sec. II, Enemy O/B, pp. 
3-3; 43d Div G-e Per Rpt, io Feb 45; 103d Inf O/B 
Rpt Luzon, p. 1; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, 
p. 81; SWPA Hist Serie s. II, 439. 

31 See below.lch. XI. ' 



166 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



sions could have bypassed and contained 
the two Japanese units, but the Japa- 
nese had held positions from which they 
could threaten the eastern crossings of 
the Agno, and Sixth Army could not 
know that the fighting at San Manuel 
and in the Cabaruan Hills had been 
undertaken to overcome dangers more 
imaginary than real. Actually, elements 
of both U.S. divisions had bypassed the 
Japanese units, but neither division 
could move far beyond the Agno lest 
its rear become exposed to counterat- 
tack from the north. First, the 43d Divi- 
sion had to gain control of the Routes 
3-11 junction, and it actually had been 



the defense offered by the 23d Division 
and the 58th 1MB that had permitted 
Shobu Group to realign forces in front 
of San Jose. 

Convinced earlier that Yamashita 
could endanger the Sixth Army's base 
area, the safety of which was essential 
until the Manila Bay region fell, Krueger 
had ample reason to believe that the 43d 
Division's success had secured the army's 
left and rear against the Japanese threat. 
The army's base area was safe. The gains 
achieved by the 6th and 25th Divisions 
had added to this security, but the most 
decisive action had been that of the 43d 
Division and its two attached RCT's. 



CHAPTER X 

The Capture of Clark Field 



To 28 January I Corps had been able 
to accomplish little more than long- 
range reconnaissance toward the fulfill- 
ment of its second mission, that of 
protecting XIV Corps' left rear. Thus, 
beyond the protection it could provide 
for itself, XIV Corps had been moving 
southward through the Central Plains 
since 18 January with an exposed left 
flank. That day the main strength of the 
37th and 40th Infantry Divisions was 
deployed along the Agno River from the 
corps boundary at Bayambang west ten 
miles to Urbiztondo. Two battalions 
were across the river from Camiling, 
nine miles south of Bayambang, east al- 
most fifteen miles to Anao. (See Map 
1 7/7.1 The XIV Corps was in high 
spirits. Its casualties had been light, it 
was rapidly assembling supplies along 
the Agno to support its advances south- 
ward, and it did not anticipate any seri- 
ous opposition at least until it reached 
Clark Field, forty miles south of the 
Agno and the first major objective on the 
road to Manila. 

General Griswold, the XIV Corps 
commander, was to push his troops south 
in successive bounds, the length of each 
bound to depend on I Corps progress 
and on how rapidly XIV Corps could 
keep its supplies moving. First, General 
Krueger directed Griswold, XIV Corps 
would move in strength up to its outpost 
line by 20 January. On the 21st the 



corps would start advancing to a line 
extending from Tarlac, on Route 3 
nearly twenty miles southeast of Camil 
ing, northeast almost ten miles to Vic- 
toria. There the corps would halt 
pending further orders from Sixth Army. 1 

Into Contact With the Kembu Group 

Twenty-four hours before the dead- 
line set by General Krueger, XIV Corps, 
encountering no opposition, moved up 
to the Camiling-Anao line, and ad- 
vanced well beyond the line on the right, 
or west. 2 The 160th Infantry, 40th Divi- 
sion, which had reached Camiling on 18 
January, marched seven miles south along 
Route 13 on the 19th. On the corps left 
the 129th Infantry, 37th Division, moved 
into Carmen, occupied Anao in strength, 
and established contact with other 37th 
Division outposts at Paniqui, on Route 
3 five miles southwest of Anao. 3 The 
regiment also cleared Route 3 from 
Carmen south eleven miles to the junc- 



1 Sixth Army FO 43, 18 Jan 45; see also above, ch. 

IvfiL] 

3 The general sources for this section are; Sixth 
Army Rpt Luzon, I, 33-25; XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, 
pt. I, pp. 59-66; XIV Corps G-3 Jnt Files, 19-23 Jan 
45; 37 th Div R P l Luzon, pp. 25-29; 37th Div G-3 
Jnl and Jnl Files, 19-23 Jan 45; 40th Div Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 14—15; 40th Div G— 3 Jnl Files, 19—24 Jan 45. 

9 Additional material for the 129th Infantry is 
from; 129th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 4; 129th Inf S-3 Per 
Rpts, 19-23 Jan 45; Beightler Comments, 18 Mar 57. 



168 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



tion of the highway with the main line 
of the Manila Railroad at Moncada. 
Here, in a midmorning clash, the 129th 
Infantry took the first sizable number of 
prisoners to be captured on Luzon — -al- 
most 200— and also killed about 55 
Japanese. 

Advances on 30 January were equally 
rapid. With the 129th Infantry holding 
on the corps left, the 37th Division's 
148th Infantry advanced south four miles 
along Route 3 from Paniqui to Gerona, 
and then marched east about four miles 
along a gravel road to Pura, four miles 
north of Victoria. The 37th Reconnais- 
sance Troop, finding the town already 
in the hands of guerrillas, rode into Vic- 
toria at dusk on the 20th. Meanwhile, 
left flank units of the 40th Division had 
marched into Gerona from the west and 
had struck on south along Route 3 to a 
point just four miles short of Tarlac. 4 
The 40th Division's right had advanced 
to within four miles of Tarlac along 
Route 13. Nowhere in the flat, open farm- 
ing country through which they were 
passing had troops of the XIV Corps 
encountered any significant opposition. 

The advance continued on 2 1 Janu- 
ary as the corps moved forward to estab- 
lish itself along a line south of Victoria 
and Tarlac. Elements of the 160th In- 
fantry, 40th Division, cleared Tarlac 
against scattered rifle fire shortly after 
ogoo. Site of the junction of the main 
line of the Manila Railroad with the 
branch running northeast through Vic- 
toria to San Jose, and of the junction of 
Routes 3 and 13, Tarlac had been an im- 



* Additional information on 40th Division opera- 
tions is from: 160th Inf Unit Jnls and Jnl Files, 19- 
23 Jan 45; loRth RCT Jnls and Jnl Files, 19-23 
Jan 45. 



portant Japanese supply base and had 
therefore received considerable attention 
from Allied Air Forces bombers and car- 
rier-based planes of the Third Fleet. 
Before it withdrew southward on 19 and 
20 January, the small Japanese garrison 
had destroyed the military supplies and 
equipment that the Allied aircraft had 
missed. Tarlac was practically in ruins 
and virtually deserted as of 21 January, 
but, as was the case elsewhere through- 
out the Central Plains, Filipinos began 
flocking back to the city upon the 
arrival of American troops. 

After cleaning out Tarlac the 160th 
Infantry sent one battalion south along 
Route 3 about four miles to San Miguel. 
To the east, the 145th and 148th Infan- 
try Regiments, 37th Division, marched 
unopposed south and southwest from 
Victoria and, establishing contact with 
the 160th near San Miguel, set up a de- 
fensive outpost line extending eastward 
to a road junction just west of La Paz 
and thence back north to Victoria. 

Since XIV Corps had advanced well 
beyond the Tarlac-Victoria line without 
encountering significant opposition, 
Krueger, late on the 21st, directed Gris- 
wold to strike on southward to seize the 
Clark Field air center. Krueger knew 
that risks were involved. For one thing, 
XIV Corps supply units were having a 
hard time moving as fast as the combat 
troops. For another, I Corps was still 
unable to advance its right beyond 
Cuyapo, and XIV Corps' left would 
therefore remain exposed. However, 
since I Corps reconnaissance patrols had 
reached Victoria and Guimba without 
developing significant contacts, the risks 
did not appear as great as they had three 
days earlier when XIV Corps had started 
south. Also, of course, Krueger had to 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



169 



consider MacArthur's orders to get to 
Clark Field rapidly. 5 

The Sixth Army's order gave General 
Griswold pause. The speed of his corps' 
advance had stretched his supply lines 
abnormally and had exposed his left 
from Cuyapo to La Paz, a distance of 
nearly twenty-five miles. He had no 
definite information about suspected 
Japanese concentrations in the vicinity 
of Cabanatuan, on Route 5 just fifteen 
miles east of La Paz. His worries about 
the security of his flank were hardly put 
to rest by reports of new contacts with 
Japanese forces at Moncada, now twenty 
miles behind the front, and at La Paz. 
Elements of the 129th and 145th Infan- 
try Regiments easily took care of the 
Japanese in the Moncada area, but dur- 
ing the night of 21-22 January a pitched 
battle developed at La Paz when a pla- 
toon of Japanese infantry, supported by 
one tank, attacked a 148th Infantry per- 
imeter at a road junction a mile west of 
town. The Japanese withdrew after de- 
stroying a bridge that carried a secondary 
road across a river a mile east of La Paz. 

Griswold reported to General Krueger 
that it would be impossible to extend 
XIV Corps' left any further south until 
he had more information about Japa- 
nese forces east of La Paz. Accordingly, 
Griswold intended to keep the 37th Di- 
vision echeloned to his left rear while 
the 40th continued south along Route 3 
to Bamban, fifteen miles below Tarlac. 
The 40th would then hold while the 
37th Division sent patrols into the I 
Corps zone as far as Cabanatuan, an "in- 
vasion" to which Swift, the I Corps com- 
mander, proved agreeable. The plan 



' Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 24; Sixth Army FO 44, 
21 Jan 45, 



admitted of some delay in reaching 
Clark Field, but was approved by Gen- 
eral Krueger, who was becoming in- 
creasingly afraid that XIV Corps might 
be overextending itself. 6 

By evening on 22 January forward 
elements of the 160th Infantry and the 
40th Reconnaissance Troop had reached 
Capas, on Route 3 five miles short of 
Bamban. The reconnaissance troop then 
probed westward ten miles to Camp 
O'Donnell, terminus of the infamous 
Death March from Bataan in April 
1942. The prisoners had long since been 
evacuated, but marked graves gave ample 
mute testimony to O'Donnell's past. The 
Japanese were also gone, but they had 
just left — without a chance to eat the 
food that had been cooking on their 
camp stoves. 7 

Operations early on 23 January gave 
promise of smooth sailing. On the 40th 
Division's left the 108th Infantry cleaned 
a few Japanese stragglers out of towns up 
to seven miles east and southeast of 
Capas. On the right the 160th Infantry, 
against no opposition, secured Bamban 
Airfield, two miles south of Capas and 
on the east side of Route 3. The town 
of Bamban, however, was infested with 
small groups of Japanese, and one bat- 
talion of the 160th Infantry took most 
of the afternoon to root them out. Then 
the battalion swung west off the highway 



• Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 24; Telecon, CG XIV 
Corps and DCofS Sixth Army, 21 Jan 45, Sixth Army 
G-3 Jnl File Luzon, ao-aa Jan 45; Memo AC01S G-g 
XIV Corps for CofS XIV Corps, sub: Proposed Plan 
for Capture of Clark Field, 20 Jan 45, XIV Corps G-3 
Jnl File Luzon, 20-21 Jan 45; XIV Corps FO 3, a2 
Jan 45. 

' For a detailed account of the Death March, see 
Stanley L. Falk, Bataan: The March of Death (New 
York: W. W. Norton & Co., 196a) . 



170 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Bamban and High Ground to West 



toward sharply rising ridges, greeted by 
increasingly heavy small arms fire. An- 
other battalion secured a ford over the 
Bamban River south of town, and was 
fired on by Japanese mortars from the 
high ground to the west. The 40th Divi- 
sion, it began to appear, had reached 
some strong, organized defenses, defens- 
es that all intelligence officers from 
MacArthur's headquarters on down had 
anticipated would be found in the Clark 
Field area. 

General Griswold decided to spend 24 
January consolidating, regrouping for 
further advances southward, and prob- 
ing into the defenses the 160th Infantry 
had uncovered. He directed the 40th 
Division to feel out Japanese strength 
and dispositions west and southwest of 



Bamban, and ordered the 57th Division, 
less its 129th RCT, to assemble north- 
east of Bamban to await further orders. 
The 129th would continue to protect 
the XIV Corps' elongated left flank. In 
effect, Griswold was preparing to swing 
half his strength — the 40th Division — 90 
degrees west into the high ground dom- 
inating Clark Field while holding the 
37th Division, less the 129th RCT, ready 
to resume the march toward Manila on 
short notice. He felt he needed only the 
129th RCT along his exposed left be- 
cause his reconnaissance into the I Corps 
sector had found no concentrations of 
Japanese in the Cabanatuan region, 8 

•XIV Corps FO 3, 22 Jan 45; XIV Corps Opns 
Memo 9, 23 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 
22-24 Jan 45; Griswold Comments, 11 Jan 57, 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



171 



The First A Hacks 

Terrain and Defenses at Clark Field 

A vast complex of prewar and Japa- 
nese-constructed paved and unpaved 
runways, taxiways, dispersal areas, air- 
craft revetments, and associated installa- 
tions comprised the Clark Field air 
center — the whole extending from Bam- 
han Airfield south along hoth sides of 
Rou te 3 for almost fifteen miles. (Map 
ere were fifteen separate landing 
strips, with but three exceptions all lo- 
cated west of the highway. Clark Field 
proper, with six separate strips, lay on 
the west side of Route 3 in an open area 
about four miles wide, east to west, and 
extending from Mabalacat, four miles 
south of Bamban, south another six 
miles. In the western section of this air- 
field region lay Fort Stotsenburg, prewar 
home of various Philippine Scout units, 
including the 26th Cavalry. 

East of Route 3 the flat, hot terrain is 
given over to rice paddies — dry in Janu- 
ary — and farm lands that are cut by 
many irrigation ditches and small, tree- 
lined streams. Here the only prominent 
terrain feature is wooded Mt. Arayat, 
rising in majestic isolation above the 
floor of the Central Plains to a height of 
some 3,350 feet. West of Clark Field the 
bare foothills of the Zambales Mountains 
rise sharply, forming a series of parallel 
ridges, oriented northeast to southwest, 
and separated by the Bamban River and 
many lesser wet-weather streams. Its 
source deep in the mountains behind 
Fort Stotsenburg, the Bamban, called the 
Sacobia along its western reaches, flows 



* Morton, Fall of the Philippines, p. 22. 



generally northeastward past the north- 
ern side of the Clark Field strips. About 
a mile and a half west of Mabalacat, the 
stream turns northward for three miles, 
its western bank formed by the steep 
noses of parallel ridges rising southwest- 
ward into the Zambales Mountains. A 
mile south of Bamban, an unnamed 
stream comes in from the west to join the 
Bamban River. Here, under the clifflike 
southern side of another sharp ridge, the 
Bamban makes a right angle turn to the 
east, ultimately feeding into the Rio 
Chico de la Pampanga off the northeast- 
ern slopes of Mt. Arayat. Just east of the 
river bend south of Bamban, the Manila 
Railroad crosses the river and, some aoo 
yards further east, Route 3 also goes over 
the Bamban. The bridges here had been 
destroyed by MacArthur's retreating 
forces in 1942, rebuilt in wood by the 
Japanese, and knocked out again by the 
Allied Air Forces or guerrilla sabotage 
in January 1945. The ford the 160th 
Infantry had found and secured on 23 
January proved a good dry-weather re- 
placement, but both bridges would have 
to be reconstructed before the rainy 
season began in May. 

The ridges at the river bend south of 
Bamban and along the north-south 
stretch of the Bamban River rise steeply 
to a height of some 600 feet within 250 
yards of the river's banks. West of Fort 
Stotsenburg bare, dominating hills shoot 
quickly and sharply up to a height of 
over 1,000 feet scarcely half a mile be- 
yond the camp's western gate. From all 
this rising ground Japanese artillery, 
mortars, and machine guns could lay 
easily observed fire along Route 3 and 
the Manila Railroad, and could just as 
easily prevent the Allied Air Forces from 
using the Clark Field air center. The 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



173 



40th Division, probing into this terrain, 
knew all too well that, as usual, the in- 
fantry's objective would be the high 
ground. 

While there was general agreement 
that the Japanese maintained defenses in 
the Clark Field area, no intelligence 
agency of the Southwest Pacific Area 
had much information concerning the 
strength and extent of the defenses, nor 
of the capabilities and intentions of the 
Japanese in the region. When XIV 
Corps' advance elements reached Bam- 
ban on 23 January, various estimates 
placed from 4,000 to 8,000 Japanese on 
or near Clark Field. Intelligence officers 
believed that most of these Japanese were 
service personnel — -Army Air Force 
ground units — with perhaps a leavening 
of combat troops from the 2d Tank Di- 
vision. As of 23 January XIV Corps' 
G-2 Section felt that the Japanese might 
offer only minor delaying action at 
Clark Field, and was willing to state 
nothing more definite than that some 
Japanese defenses existed in the hills 
immediately west and southwest of 
Bamban. 10 

These estimates were far wide of the 
mark. General Tsukada's Kembu Group 
numbered some 30,000 troops, whose 
orders were to 

. . . check an anticipated penetration of the 
Clark Field sector, facilitate the operations 
of the air forces as far as possible, and as a 
last resort hinder utilization of the airfields 



10 G-s GHQ SWPA, G-2 Per Summary of Enemy 
Trends, No. 26, 21 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, ai Jan 
45; Sixth Army G— 2 Weekly Rpt 71, 17 Jan 45, copy 
in G-2 DA Files; XIV Corps G-2 Per Rpts 11-14, 
21-24 J an 45- Sixth Army G-3 Jnl Files Luzon, 20-22 
through 24-25 Jan 45; Teletype Msg, G-2 XIV Corps 
to G-2 Sixth Army, 0025 23 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 
Jnl File Luzon, 22-24 J an 45- 



by operating from the strongpoint west of 
Clark Field. 11 

Tsukada divided his heterogeneous 
collection of Army and Navy combat and 
service units into nine separate detach- 
ments; for a headquarters he used that of 
the 1st Airborne Raiding Group, his pre- 
vious command. His Army personnel, 
about 15,000 men in all, he assigned to 
four combat and four service detach- 
ments. The ninth detachment, compris- 
ing naval combat and service troops, 
numbered another 15,000 men. The 
total trained combat strength available 
to the Kembu Group was about 8,500 
troops, of whom no more than half were 
first-class, well-seasoned men. 

The largest Army combat detachment 
was the Eguchi, with 3,900 men under 
Lt. Col. Seizuke Eguchi. Eguchi's troops 
included five airfield construction bat- 
talions armed as light infantry, a provi- 
sional infantry battalion formed from 
replacements and casuals from Manila, 
and a heavy (120-mm.) antiaircraft gun 
battalion set up for ground support oper- 
ations. 12 Next in size, with about 2,800 
men, was the Takayama Detachment 
under Lt. Col. Koshin Takayama, who 
was also the commanding officer of the 
2d Mobile Infantry, 2d Tank Division. 



n 14th Area Army Opnl Order No. A-384, 11 Jan 
45, Trans, III, Item g, p. 19. The remainder of this 
subsection is based principally on: SWPA Hist Series, 
II, 447-49; Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 10, 
Luzon Opns of the Kembu Gp, pp. 4—11, and atchd 
map; No. 125, Philippine Area Naval Operations, pt. 
IV, pp. 20-21; 14th Area Army Tr Org List; 10th 
I&H Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, Interrog 
of Col Yasuji Okada (CofS Kembu Gp), pp. 1-2: 
ibid., Okada Narrative, p. 16; 38th Inf Div Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 128—30. 

1! The antiaircraft battalion was probably a naval 
unit. Eguchi was also the commander of the 10th 
Air Sector Unit, an engineer and defense organiza- 
tion, the headquarters of which he used as detach- 
ment headquarters. 



174 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Takayama's force included the 2d Mobile 
Infantry less two battalions, two airfield 
construction battalions reorganized as 
auxiliary infantry, an understrength anti- 
tank gun battalion, and a 75-mm. battery 
from 2d Tank Division artillery. The 
third combat force, the Takaya Detach- 
ment, numbered 750 men under Maj. 
Saburo Takaya. It was composed of the 
understrength 2d Glider Infantry (for- 
merly part of Tsukada's 1st Airborne 
Raiding Group) and miscellaneous at- 
tachments. The last Army combat group 
with the Yanagimoto Detachment, about 
650 men under a Captain Yanagimoto, 
whose command included the 3d Bat- 
talion, less elements, of the 2d Mobile 
Infantry, and an independent light tank 
company. The four service detachments 
were apparently at first in direct support 
of the four combat detachments, but 
most of the men of the service units 
later fought as infantry. 

The naval troops were under the com- 
mand of Rear Adm. Ushie Sugimoto, 
whose headquarters was that of the now 
planeless 26th Air Flotilla. The admiral 
subdivided his detachment into five com- 
bat sectors and two service commands. 
His principal combat force was the 
small jjth Naval Guard Unit, which 
formed the nucleus of one of the combat 
sectors. The rest of the naval troops in- 
cluded the ground echelons of various 
naval air groups, a few stranded pilots, 
some antiaircraft units, and service 
personnel of all categories. 

Considering its total strength, the 
Kembu Group was lightly armed. It 
possessed less than a battalion of 47-mm. 
antitank guns; two or three batteries, in 
all, of 70-mm. and 75-mm. field artillery 
weapons; about a battalion of medium 
artillery — 100-mm. to 150-mm. — either 



emplaced in caves or on self-propelled 
mounts; and the equivalent of two bat- 
talions of naval 120-mm. antiaircraft 
guns, all emplaced as ground support 
weapons. The auxiliary and provisional 
infantry units had few heavy machine 
guns and fewer mortars. But the Kembu 
Group had many other types of fairly 
heavy automatic weapons. It had modi- 
fied a variety and multitude of automatic 
antiaircraft guns for ground support 
roles, and it had stripped machine guns 
and machine cannon from damaged air- 
craft in the Clark Field area, moving the 
weapons into the hills and mountains 
to provide added fire power. 

Tsukada disposed his forces along three 
eastward-facing defense lines, which 
stretched north to south almost ten miles. 
The first line, the Kembu Group's, out- 
post line of resistance (OPLR), had its 
northern anchor on a bare, steep ridge 
nose about two miles northwest of 
Bamban, and followed successive noses 
south to the Bamban River. South of 
the stream, the OPLR continued to the 
Abucayan River, on the south side of 
Fort Stotsenburg, taking advantage of 
knolls and ridgelets in the western por- 
tion of the Clark Field area. Elements 
of the Takayama Detachment held the 
northern section of the OPLR; part of 
the Eguchi Detachment defended the 
southern half. 

General Tsukada did not plan pro- 
tracted operations along the OPLR, for 
he could not hold the southern part of 
the line, which ran over relatively flat 
ground, against the air and armored 
superiority he knew Sixth Army could 
bring to bear. Instead, he intended to 
control the Clark Field area, Route 3, 
and the Manila Railroad by fire from his 
main line of resistance (MLR), which 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



175 



lay generally two and a half miles west 
into the mountains from the OPLR. 
He located the northern anchor of the 
MLR on the bare top of a 1,000-foot- 
high ridge about five miles west of Bam- 
ban; and here the Kembu Group refused 
its left flank with a westward extension 
of the MLR. The Takayama Detach- 
ment held the left third of the MLR; 
the Takaya Detachment the center, 
south to the Bamban River; and the 
Eguchi Detachment the ground south of 
that stream to a point two miles south- 
west of Fort Stotsenburg, where the 
right flank was also refused. 

In rugged, still higher terrain a couple 
of miles west of the MLR, Admiral 
Sugimoto's naval forces were moving 
into an area the Kembu Group viewed 
as its "last-stand" position. Far to the 
east, forward of the OPLR, was the mo- 
bile Yanagimoto Detachment. With no 
fixed position, this covering force was 
ready to defend against paratroop land- 
ings, help hold the south flank of the 
OPLR, and undertake reconnaissance as 
required. As of 23 January Yanagimoto 
Detachment headquarters was at Ange- 
les, on Route 3 and the Manila Railroad 
about ten miles south of Bamban. 

The Kembu Group's strength lay in 
the terrain it held, in the depth of its de- 
fenses, and in the great number of auto- 
matic weapons (aircraft and antiaircraft) 
it possessed. Its major weaknesses were 
its immobility; the inadequate training 
and armament of the bulk of its troops; 
shortages of food, ammunition, and field 
artillery; and the rudimentary state of 
many defensive installations, a state de- 
riving from the late start in establishing 
the positions at and west of Clark Field. 
The health of the command was poor 
from the start, and medical supplies 



were short. Morale was not of the high- 
est order, and many of the troops were 
easily disaffected Formosan, Okinawan, 
and Korean labor personnel. In brief, 
the Kembu Group was the poorest 
armed, prepared, and supplied of Yama- 
shita's three defense commands. On the 
other hand, as the 40th Division was 
soon to learn, even poor service troops, 
whatever their state of training and arm- 
ament, can put up stiff resistance in good 
defensive terrain. Before a week had 
passed the 40th Division and the XIV 
Corps would be willing to concede that 
General Tsukada and his troops had 
missed no opportunities to exploit to 
the utmost every defensive advantage the 
terrain they held offered them. 

Penetrating the OPLR 

Directed by General Griswold to 
probe into the Kembu Group's defenses 
west and southwest of Bamban, the 40th 
Division ordered its 160th Infantry to 
press on against the Japanese with whom 
it had established contact on 23 January. 
The regiment would strike westward 
from a line of departure along the Ma- 
nila Railroad both north and south of 
the Bamban River. Its left would drive 
up Lafe Hill, a 600-foot-high ridge nose 
lying half a mile south of the confluence 
of the Bamban and the unnamed stream 
coming in from the west. The right 
flank objective was another ridge nose, 
Hill 500, immediately north of the 
stream junction. 13 

The two objectives marked the north- 
ernmost major strongpoints along the 
Takayama Detachment's portion of the 
OPLR. Two airfield engineer battal- 

"40th Div FO 7, 22 Jan 45, 160th Inf Jnl File, 23 
Jan 45; XIV Corps Opns Memo 9, 23 Jan 45. 



176 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



ions, supported by provisional mortar 
and machine gun units, held the two 
ridge noses and the ridges rising from 
the noses to the southwest. The Japa- 
nese had emplaced dismounted aircraft 
machine cannon and a few light artillery 
pieces to cover the hills and their 
approaches. Caves of various sizes pock- 
marked the steep slopes of both objec- 
tives, some of the caves at the bottom 
of the ridges having been converted from 
storage dumps to defensive installations. 
There were no easy approaches to either 
ridge nose. The visible sides of bare 
Hill 500 were virtual cliffs where, for 
the Japanese, a big rock was nearly as 
good a defensive weapon as a rifle or 
machine gun. The slopes of knife- 
crested Lafe Hill were almost as steep 
and, bare like those of Hill 500, pos- 
sessed some rock outcroppings. This 
was handhold terrain where the problem 
involved in closing with the Japanese 
defenses would be equaled only by the 
problems of supply and evacuation. 

Two battalions of the 160th Infantry 
launched the attack about noon on 24 
January. 14 Despite the terrain difficulties 
and heavy fire from Japanese automatic 
weapons, mortars, and 75-mm. artillery, 
the southern wing of the attack, behind 
close artillery support, worked its way 
up Lafe Hill and secured the crest by 
1800, The units on the right, however, 
were scarcely able to gain a foothold on 
the scrub-grown northern slope of Hill 
500. 

Although the 160th Infantry had 
encountered well-organized resistance 

"This subsection is based generally upon: 40th 
Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 15-18; 40th Div G-g Jnls and Jnl 
Files, 24-28 Jan 45; 160th Inf Unit Jnls and Jnl Files, 
24-28 Jan 45; 108th RCT Jnls and Jnl Files, 24-28 
Jan 45; XIV Corps G-g Jnls and Jnl Files, 24-29 
Jan 45. 



and had failed to take one of its objec- 
tives, XIV Corps' G-2 Section was still 
reluctant to believe that the Japanese 
had significant defenses west of Bamban. 
Rather, the section estimated, the 160th 
had uncovered a small delaying force 
bent upon self-destruction in place, 15 
General Griswold, therefore, expected 
that the 40th Division could overcome 
the resistance in the Bamban vicinity 
on 25 January and, he hoped it could 
clear all the Clark Field-Fort Stotsen- 
burg region within another day or two. lfl 
The 40th Division did not share the 
corps' optimism. On 25 January the 
division was able only to broaden its 
front to both the north and the south, 
and to accomplish even this had to com- 
mit elements of the 108th Infantry on 
its right. Major new objectives were 
Hill E, a bare ridge nose with fairly 
gentle slopes a mile and a quarter north 
of Hill 500, and steep-sided, bare Hill 
636, a mile and a quarter southwest of 
Lafe Hill and over a mile up (southwest) 
the next ridge south of Lafe Hill. 

Fighting over open ground against a 
company of Japanese that had excellent 
heavy weapons support, the 160th Infan- 
try, on 25 January, failed to reach Hill 
636, but, overrunning one OPLR posi- 
tion along the eastern nose of the Hill 
636 ridge line, did progress almost a 
mile up the ridge. Further north, other 
elements of the 160th cleared Hill 500 
during the day, and an attached battal- 
ion of the 108th Infantry secured Hill E 
and then went on to clear a few Japa- 
nese from Hill G, another bare knoll a 
little over a mile north-northwest of 
Hill E. 



XIV Corps G-2 Per Rpt 14, 24 Jan 45. 
XIV Corps Opns Memo 10, 24 Jan 45. 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



177 



The 40th Division did not yet know 
it, but the attack had carried through 
some of the Takayama Detachment's 
strongest OPLR defenses and, on the 
right, had taken the assault troops to 
positions from which they could out- 
flank the left of the OPLR. The de- 
fenses, which Tsukada had expected 
would hold at least a week, had fallen 
rapidly under the combined weight of 
American infantry, artillery, and air at- 
tack. The achievements had cost the 
40th Division 15 men killed and 45 
wounded; the Takayama Detachment 
had lost over 300 men killed of an origi- 
nal OPLR force of nearly 1,100 troops. 

The 40th Division next planned to 
swing the 160th and 108th Infantry Regi- 
ments south. The i6oth's initial objec- 
tives included Hill 636 and another bare 
knob 800 yards further west along the 
same ridge line. Once it had secured 
these two terrain features, the 160th 
would wheel southwest across the Bam- 
ban River to clear Clark Field proper 
and the eastern half of the Fort Stotsen- 
burgcamp area. The 108th Infantry, ini- 
tially undertaking a wide development 
westward beyond Hills E and G, was 
to strike south to seize Hill 350, a mile 
and a half west of Lafe Hill, and then 
continue south-southwest on the i6oth's 
right to clear the western half of Fort 
Stotsenburg. The 108th was also to 
secure high ground immediately west of 
and overlooking the fort area. 17 

By the time the attack on the 26th 
was well under way, a distinct pattern 
had emerged from the operations west 
and southwest of Bamban, a pattern that 
would remain in effect as long as the 
Kembu Group was able to put up a sem- 

" 40th Div FO 9, as Jan 45, 108th RCT Jnl File, 
»5 J an 45. 



blance of organized resistance. Any 
movement by American troops along the 
generally open ridges west of Route 3 
inevitably brought down Japanese ma- 
chine gun and mortar fire, often aug- 
mented by fire from the dismounted 
aircraft automatic weapons, antiaircraft 
guns, and light artillery. Seeking cover 
and usually pinned in place, the Ameri- 
can infantry would call for close-in mor- 
tar and artillery support, wait for the 
concentrations to be fired, and then drive 
forward a few yards, when the process 
had to be repeated. Each time, the Ameri- 
cans managed to overrun a few Japanese 
machine gun or rifle strongpoints. 

There was little choice of routes of 
advance. Draws, providing some con- 
cealment in scrub growth or bamboo 
thickets, were usually covered by well- 
emplaced Japanese weapons both within 
the draws and on the ridges to each side. 
Possession of the high ground, as ever, 
was essential. Yet the troops had to em- 
ploy draws whenever possible to out- 
flank Japanese ridge line strongpoints, 
and often draws and ravines proved to 
be the only routes by which tanks, tank 
destroyers, and cannon company self- 
propelled mounts could get to the front 
to fire against Japanese cave positions 
along the sides of the ridges. 

The capture of one Japanese-held 
cave served only to disclose another, and 
one machine gun position was overrun 
only to provide access to the next. Dis- 
lodging the Kembu Group from such 
defenses in depth was to prove a slow, 
laborious, and costly process, demanding 
the closest teamwork between the infan- 
try and its supporting arms. Casualties, 
as a rule, would not be heavy on any one 
day — progress would be too slow and 
the troops would spend too much of 



178 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Cave-Pockf.t) Hill, typical of Japanese defenses in Clark Field area. 



their time pinned down awaiting fire 
from supporting weapons. But a daily 
attrition rate of about 5 men killed and 
15 wounded for each battalion engaged 
would soon begin to have its effect. 

When it proved impossible for tanks 
and other supporting artillery to reach 
the front lines, or when it was impossible 
for any reason to lay fire into a Japanese 
position, the infantry had to fall back 
on assault team techniques. An eight- 
man assault squad would be equipped 
with submachine guns, flame throwers, 
demolitions, and smoke and thermite 
grenades. A six-man covering squad, 
armed with rifles and light automatic 
weapons, would provide close support. 



The two-squad team would operate for- 
ward of and under the cover of fires from 
other infantry units and heavier sup- 
port weapons, all set up on dominating 
ground. 18 

On 26 January the 160th Infantry's 
left made the greatest progress as the 
Takayama Detachment's right flank 
OPLR defenses began to disintegrate. 
The 160th secured Hill 636 with little 
trouble and also cleared the grassy crest 
of Hill 600, a hot three-quarters of a 
mile southwest of Lafe Hill along the 
Lafe Hill ridge. North of the unnamed 



"Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 29; G-3 40th Div, 
Summary of Opnl Lessons Learned, Mike One Opn, 
p. g, attached to 40th Div Rpt Luzon, 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



179 



stream the i6oth's right flank drove west 
against negligible resistance and began 
wheeling southward to prepare to cross 
the stream and rejoin the rest of the 
regiment. 

In the 108th Infantry's sector advances 
were more painful. The regiment had 
to give up its hold at Hill G in the face 
of heavy concentration of Japanese artil- 
lery and mortar fire, and could make 
very little progress in the Hill E area. 
In the afternoon, attempts to start the 
scheduled enveloping maneuver suc- 
ceeded only in extending the regimental 
right into rising ground 1,000 yards 
northwest of Hill G. 

The 40th Division had not made 
anticipated progress, but the operations 
on 26 January had provided the division 
and the XIV Corps with a clearer pic- 
ture of the opposition. By the end of 
the day the division's G-2 Section was 
able to delimit the Japanese OPLR, had 
recognized it as an OPLR, and had 
identified the major components of the 
Takayama Detachment. The corps' G-2 
Section readily admitted that the 40th 
Division had uncovered a strong defen- 
sive line and that the Japanese seemed 
determined to maintain control of the 
Clark Field area. 19 General Griswold 
had to accept the fact that operations in 
the Clark Field region were going to 
take longer than he had hoped and might 
require the commitment of additional 
forces. 

The 40th Division's operations on 27 
January, again meeting with limited suc- 
cess, confirmed Griswold's reasoning. 
The 160th Infantry gained only 500 to 



iS 4oth Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 16-18; 40th Div G-s 
Rpts, 25-27 Jan 45, 40th Div G-g Jnl Files, 25-27 
Jan 45; XIV Corps G-2 Per Rpt, aft Jan 45, Sixth 
Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 36-27 Jan 45. 



800 yards in westerly and southwesterly 
directions during the day and was unable 
to bring its right flank elements south 
of the unnamed stream. Further north 
the 108th Infantry advanced about 1,000 
yards southwest from Hills E and G but 
failed to reach the day's objective, Hill 5, 
a rough bare height three-quarters of a 
mile southwest of Hill G. Nevertheless, 
by the end of the day the 40th Division 
had virtually demolished the Takayama 
Detachment OPLR, reducing the once 
we 11 -organized line to a number of iso- 
lated strongpoints manned by troops 
who preferred to die in place rather than 
withdraw to the detachment's MLR. 
These isolated groups presented no real 
threat, and it was only a matter of time 
before the 40th Division would elimi- 
nate them. Finally, the 40th Division's 
progress through 27 January had secured 
the Manila Railroad and Route 3 from 
Bamban south to Mabalacat. The gains 
of the first four days' action against the 
Kembu Group had cost the 40th Divi- 
sion approximately 35 men killed and 
115 wounded; the Takayama Detach- 
ment had lost at least 1,000 men killed 
alone. 

A Planning Interlude 

While the 40th Division had been 
engaged against the Takayama Detach- 
ment, the 37th Division had safeguarded 
XIV Corps' eastern flank, had continued 
to reconnoiter eastward into the I Corps 
zone, and, on 25 January, had begun to 
extend its right (west) flank southward 
from the vicinity of Bamban in the area 
immediately east of Route 3. On the 
26th, the 145th Infantry secured Mabala- 
cat and Mabalacat East Airfield, four 
miles south of Bamban, against light 



180 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



opposition. The next day the 145th In- 
fantry advanced south along Route 3 
another three miles to Culayo and Dau, 
while 148th Infantry secured Magalang, 
five miles east of Dau. 

The Culayo-Dau area assumed some 
importance as the junction of Route 3 
with a road running west through Clark 
Field to Fort Stotsenburg and with a spur 
of the Manila Railroad running from 
the fort to Magalang, In its advance 
to Dau the 145th Infantry encoun- 
tered tanks of the Yanagtmoto Detach- 
ment, operating south of the town, and 
had been fired on by Japanese artillery 
emplaced in high ground west of Fort 
Stotsenburg. Scattered groups of Japa- 
nese held out in Culayo and Dau until 
the morning of 27 January. 

On the 26th, the 145th Infantry swung 
west across Route 3 and with little diffi- 
culty overran Clark Field Runway No. 1, 
a mile northwest of Culayo. It had been 
almost thirty-seven months since Ameri- 
can ground forces had set foot on Clark 
Field. 20 

On 27 January, the 145th Infantry 
marched another three miles south along 
Route 3 to the city of Angeles, which 
the Yanagtmoto Detachment had already 
left to Filipino guerrillas. From Angeles, 
good gravel roads led southwest toward 
Bataan Peninsula and northeast to Ma- 
galang, while Route 3 and the Manila 
Railroad swung off to the southeast on 
their way to Manila. The 148th Infan- 
try on 27 January patrolled east and 
south from Magalang finding no signifi- 
cant traces of the Japanese. At the close 
of the day, the 37th Division's two regi- 



M MacArthur's forces, retreating into Bataan, had 
evacuated the Clark Field area during the night of 
i-2 January 194s. See Morton. Fall of the Philip- 
pines, p. 213. 



ments were prepared to leave Clark Field 
to their right rear and continue the 
advance toward Manila. 21 

How to employ the 37th Division in 
the immediate future was a knotty prob- 
lem for both General Griswold and Gen- 
eral Krueger. 22 The obvious choices 
presented obvious disadvantages. If the 
division were to continue toward Ma- 
nila, its right rear might be open to a 
Kembu Group counterattack that the 
40th Division might not be able to repel; 
if the division were committed to fight 
against the Kembu Group, the advance 
on Manila would be delayed; if the divi- 
sion left strong forces echeloned along 
XIV Corps' left rear to protect the corps' 
exposed left flank, both the advance to 
Manila and the destruction of Kembu 
Group would be delayed. General Mac- 
Arthur's constant pressure upon General 
Krueger to get the XIV Corps on toward 
Manila further complicated the problem. 

The key to speed in the advance 
toward Manila was the time element — 
the time taken by I Corps to extend its 
right flank south and southeast in order 
to afford better protection to the XIV 
Corps left rear, and the time taken by 
XIV Corps to assure the safety of its 
right rear by overrunning the principal 
Kembu Group defenses in the Clark 
Field area. One factor mitigated the 
problems attendant upon securing XIV 
Corps' right rear. On ag January, the 
XI Corps was to land on Luzon's west 
coast north of Bataan in an attack that 



"XIV Corps and 37th Div G-5 Per Rpts, 25-28 
Jan 45. 

23 The general sources for the remainder of this 
section are; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 24-27; Sixth 
Army FO 45, 26 Jan 45, in ibid,, I, 147-48; XIV Corps 
Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 69; XIV Corps Opns Memo 11, 
27 Jan 45; I Corps FO 7, 27 Jan 45. 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



181 



bid fair to divert Kembu Group atten- 
tion and take some of the pressure off 
XIV Corps. 23 On the other hand, the 
problems involved in providing protec- 
tion to XIV Corps' left flank were not 
so easily solved. General Krueger felt 
that I Corps could not advance south 
from the San Felipe-Cuyapo line, which 
the corps had secured by 27 January, 
until reinforcements reached Luzon. To 
spread I Corps any thinner would create 
an entirely new danger — a weakly held 
I Corps flank exposed to counterattack 
from a Japanese concentration the Sixth 
Army believed to be located near San 
Jose on Route 5. It was bad enough to 
have XIV Corps' left exposed, but at 
least that corps had the protection of 
distance and unbridged streams against 
a Japanese thrust from San Jose, protec- 
tion I Corps' right would not have once 
it started southward. 

The 3 2d Infantry Division, the 1st 
Cavalry Division, and the separate 112th 
Cavalry RCT all reached Lingayen Gulf 
on 27 January. Once the units were un- 
loaded, Krueger could return the 25th 
Division's 35th RCT, still in Army re- 
serve, to I Corps. He also intended to 
give the s$2d Division, less one regiment 
in Army reserve, to I Corps for insertion 
between the 25th and 43d Divisions. 
Then the 25th and 6th Divisions could 
narrow their fronts and continue south 
and southeast with less danger of leaving 
the I Corps flank exposed beyond the 
limits of a calculated risk. 

Krueger reasoned that the 32d Divi- 
sion and the 35th RCT could move into 
position in time for I Corps to start 
advancing beyond its San Felipe-Cuyapo 
line on 28 January, striking forward to 



' See below, ch. XVII 



a new objective line twenty miles to the 
south and southeast. On the right the 
6th Division would move up to a line 
extending from Licab to Munoz, on 
Route 5 eight miles southwest of San 
Jose. The 25th Division would take 
over near Munoz to extend the new 
objective line northward to Route 8 at 
Lupao, roughly nine miles northwest of 
San Jose. Reconnaissance would be pro- 
jected to San Jose, Cabanatuan, and 
Rizal, the last lying ten miles southeast 
of San Jose. 

Feeling that for the time being the 
I Corps' advance would provide ade- 
quate security along XIV Corps' left 
rear, Krueger directed XIV Corps to 
resume its drive toward Manila, first 
securing crossings over the Pampanga 
River, twenty-five miles south of Clark 
Field. Griswold hesitated to commit his 
"free" unit — the 37th Division less the 
129th RCT — to an advance to the Pam- 
panga so hurriedly, for he feared the 
division might be cut off south of Clark 
Field if it moved too soon. He wanted 
another two or three days, at least, of 
concerted attacks against the Kembu 
Group so that he could push that force 
far enough back into the mountains to 
permit the uninterrupted flow of troops 
and supplies down Route 3 and recon- 
structed portions of the Manila Rail- 
road. He also felt that he would have 
to drive the Kembu Group further into 
the Zambales Mountains to allow the 
Allied Air Forces to carry out pressing 
construction tasks at Clark Field 
unmolested. 

Accordingly, Griswold directed the 
37th Division to move to the attack on 
the 40th Division's left, clearing those 
portions of Clark Field still controlled 
by the Japanese and then securing Fort 



182 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Stotsenburg and the high ground imme- 
diately west and southwest of the fort 
area. While not complying entirely with 
Krueger's orders to get to the Pampanga, 
Griswold did direct the 37th Division to 
send reconnaissance south along Route 3 
to San Fernando, Pampanga Province, 
fifteen miles beyond Clark Field. From 
San Fernando Route 7 stretched south- 
westward into Bataan. Once it had cap- 
tured San Fernando, Griswold's orders 
read, the 37th Division would recon- 
noiter southwest along Route 7 to gain 
contact with XI Corps and would patrol 
southeastward along Route 3 to the 
Pampanga crossings. 

The missions Griswold assigned him 
forced a wholesale reshuffling of units 
upon Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler, the 
37th Division's commander. First, with 
I Corps resuming its advance southward, 
Beightler needed only one battalion of 
his 129th Infantry to protect the XIV 
Corps' left rear, and he decided to em- 
ploy the rest of the regiment in the 
attack on Fort Stotsenburg. To bring 
the regiment up to strength for this task, 
he attached to it a battalion of the 145th 
Infantry. The rest of the 145th would 
strike west from Angeles to clear the 
high ground south and southwest of 
Fort Stotsenburg. To the 148th Infantry 
and the 37th Reconnaissance Troop fell 
the 37th Division's other missions. 

As the 37th Division swung into action 
against the Kembu Group, the 40th Divi- 
sion would continue its drive southwest- 
ward in the area north of the Bamban 
River, its objective ground rising to 
over 1,500 feet three to four miles be- 
yond the 160th Infantry's deepest pene- 
tration. The 160th Infantry was to make 
the main effort in the 40th Division's 
sector, its axis of advance to be the steep- 



sided Hill 636 ridge line running in 
a southwesterly direction along the north 
bank of the Bamban River. The 108th 
Infantry would continue its drive on 
the i6oth's right and would eliminate 
the last pockets of resistance along the 
T akayama Detachment's section of 
the OPLR. The 185th Infantry and the 
40th Reconnaissance Troop would con- 
tinue to protect the XIV Corps line of 
communications back to Lingayen Gulf, 
patrol into the northern portion of the 
Zambales Mountains, and secure the 
Sixth Army's right rear. 24 

XIV Corps' new attack, scheduled to 
start at 0700 on a8 January, would be 
launched against a Japanese force that 
still held many positions along its OPLR, 
that was still under centralized control, 
that had lost few of the weapons with 
which it had begun to fight, and that 
still held excellent defensive terrain 
from which it could observe every move- 
ment made by the assaulting Americans. 
The 108th Infantry had yet to overrun 
some Takayama Detachment OPLR de- 
fenses; the 160th Infantry, having de- 
stroyed the OPLR in its sector, would 
drive directly into the Takaya — not the 
Takayama — Detachment's sector in the 
center of the Kembu Group MLR; 
the 129th and 145th Infantry Regiments 
would slam into the Eguchi Detachment 
OPLR, undisturbed so far except by air 
and artillery bombardments. On 27 Jan- 
uary the Yanagimoto Detachment with- 
drew its tanks and infantry to the Fort 
Stotsenburg area, in effect setting up 
another defensive line between the 
Eguchi Detachment OPLR and MLR. 25 
The 129th Infantry would head directly 

14 37th Div FO 25, 37 Jan 45; 40th Div FO io, 27 
Jan 45. 
M SWPA Hist Scries, II, 449. 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



183 



into the strengthened Eguchi Detach- 
■merit sector. 

Closing With the Kembu Group's MLR 

Leading off the new attack, the 129th 
Infantry struck westward from the vicin- 
ity of Culayo about 0715 on 28 January 
and within two and a half hours gained 
firm contact all across the Eguchi De- 
tachment OPLR. 26 Fire coming from a 
block of destroyed hangars and mine 
fields at the western end of Runway No. 
2, two miles west of Culayo, stopped the 
regiment's right, which mediums of the 
754th Tank Battalion supported. The 
i2t)th's left reached the outskirts of bar- 
rio Tacondo, off the southeastern corner 
of Fort Stotsenburg, but halted when hit 
by Japanese small arms and machine gun 
fire and by a misplaced Fifth Air Force 
strike. The supporting tanks stopped at 
another mine field. The Japanese had 
strewn mines liberally in the 129th In- 
fantry's sector, the extent of their mining 
operations indicated by the fact that dur- 
ing the period 28-31 January the 37th 
Division removed almost 1,350 mines 
from Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg. 

Meanwhile, north of the Bamban 
River, the 160th Infantry encountered 
surprisingly light opposition as it swept 
on along its ridge line to seize open- 
crested Hill 620, a mile beyond Hill 636. 
But Japanese automatic weapons, mor- 
tars, and artillery pinned down the regi- 

" This subsection is based generally on: 37th Div 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 31-35; 37th Div G-3 Jnl and Jnl 
Files, 28 Jan— 1 Feb 45; 129th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 4-5; 
129th Inf, Hist of 129th Inf, 1810-1945, PP- 5 1 — 59! 
i2gth Inf Jnl, 28 Jan— 2 Feb 45; 129th Inf S— 3 Per 
Rpts, 28 Jan-2 Feb 45; 145th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 13- 
15; 145th Inf S— 3 Jnl, 28—31 Jan 45; 145th Inf S-3 Per 
Rpts, 28-31 Jan 45; 40th Div G-g Jnl Files, 28—31 
Jan 45; 160th Inf Unit Jnls and Jnl Files, 27-31 Jan 
45; 108th RCT Jnls and Jnl Files, 28 Jan-i Feb 45. 



ment as, during the afternoon, it drove 
1,200 yards west of Hill Gzo on an ever- 
broadening front. At 1900 Japanese in- 
fantry counterattacked, and the 160th 
had to withdraw its forward companies 
some 700 yards in order to refuse its 
right (north) flank, which was bearing 
the brunt of the attack. The next day, 
still operating on open ground, the regi- 
ment pulled in its right and narrowed 
its front to a width closely corresponding 
to that of the Takaya Detachment MLR. 

By this time the American units were 
dividing the ground among themselves 
much as the Japanese had divided it. 
The 108th Infantry, on the 40th Divi- 
sion's right, was now fighting only against 
the Takayama Detachment; the 160th 
Infantry's adversary was the Takaya 
Detachment; the 129th Infantry faced 
the Eguchi Detachment. The similarity 
in deployment, based upon the terrain 
compartments of the area, illustrates 
the fact that the principles of terrain 
appreciation often differ little from one 
army to another. 27 

On 29 January the 160th Infantry 
gained almost two miles in a southwest- 
erly direction across a front nearly a 
mile wide, breaking through a strong- 
point at the very center of the Takaya 
Detachment MLR. The Japanese re- 
acted with several small-scale counter- 
attacks during the night, but achieved 
nothing. In this success the 160th In- 
fantry lost 10 men killed, about 70 
wounded, and nearly 50 evacuated be- 
cause of heat exhaustion and combat 
fatigue. 



"The Eguchi Detachment OPLR lay entirely 
within the 129th Infantry's zone. Its southernmost 
MLR strongpoint was within the 145th Infantry's 
zone, but the Eguchi Detachment abandoned this 
position before the 145th reached it. 



184 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



For the 129th Infantry, action began 
on 29 January with an unsuccessful 
Eguchi Detachment counterattack. The 
American regiment's advance started 
about 0915, after an artillery and 4.2- 
inch mortar preparation and after await- 
ing a Fifth Air Force strike that failed to 
materialize. Against increasingly heavy 
fire from all types of Japanese weapons, 
the 129th Infantry overran the right of 
the Eguchi Detachment OPLR by 1630 
and started into the ruins of the Fort 
Stotsenburg camp area. Fifteen minutes 
later six Yanagimoto Detachment tanks 
counterattacked at barrio Tacondo, hit- 
ting the 3d Battalion, 129th Infantry, 
on its right. Since the battalion's sup- 
porting tanks had just withdrawn to 
replenish fuel and ammunition, 28 only 
infantry machine guns and a lone Can- 
non Company self-propelled mount — 
which was promptly knocked out along 
with most of its crew — at first opposed 
the Japanese tanks. Other self-propelled 
mounts, as well as vehicles from the 
637th Tank Destroyer Battalion quickly 
came up, and the Japanese tanks began 
to withdraw. Four Yanagimoto Detach- 
ment tanks were ultimately knocked out, 
as were two vehicles of the 637th. 

The two Japanese counterattacks on 
the 29th had been launched with the 

™ Hist of 129th Inf, 1810-1945, p. 56. According 
to an exchange of messages summarized in the 129th 
Infantry Regimental Journal for the period 1805- 
1848, 29 January, the regimental and battalion com- 
manders felt that the tanks had withdrawn to avoid 
Japanese artillery fire; that they refused to return to 
the front at the time of the Japanese tank attack; 
and that they did not provide proper support for 
Cannon Company self-propelled mounts and 637th 
Tank Destroyer Battalion weapons. The regimental 
commander reported that he finally got three tanks 
turned around and back to the front, but not until 
the Japanese tanks had withdrawn. The records of 
the other units involved contain no further informa- 
tion on the action. 



hope that the OPLR might be restored 
and held at least another day or two. 
With their failure General Tsukada, the 
Kembu Group commander, ordered the 
Eguchi Detachment to withdraw to its 
MLR positions. For the Yanagimoto 
Detachment the losses, coupled with at- 
trition in other, lesser contacts and with 
losses from American artillery fire dur- 
ing the preceding few days, marked the 
end of an armored unit. The detach- 
ment's survivors pulled back into the 
Eguchi Detachment MLR. 29 

These Kembu Group orders must 
have been issued about the same time 
that General Beightler gave the 129th 
Infantry new instructions deriving from 
a chain of events over which the regiment 
had no control. Taking stock of the 
situation in the Clark Field area on 29 
January, General Krueger was not too 
well pleased. Passing on the pressure 
earlier placed upon him by General 
MacArthur, Krueger reminded Griswold 
that strategic considerations made it im- 
perative to seize the entire Clark Field 
air center promptly, and directed the 
XIV Corps commander to press the 
attack with the "utmost vigor." 30 

Griswold passed on the pressure to the 
37th and 40th Divisions, ordering the 
37th to secure Fort Stotsenburg and 
the high ground to the immediate west 
by dark on 30 January, simultaneously 
broadening its front to the right. 31 Thus 
far a gap of two miles had separated the 
129th Infantry's right and the left of the 
160th Infantry, on the north bank of 
the Bamban. From a position on high 



»SWPA Hist Series, II, 451. 

"Rad, Krueger to Griswold, WL-8S7, 29 Jan 45, 
Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 28-29 J an 45- 

31 Tele Msg, XIV Corps to 37th Div, 1 701 29 Jan, 
Entry 1709, 37th Div G-3 Jnl, Jan-Feb 45. 



THE CAPTURE OF CLARK FIELD 



185 



ground near barrio Dolores, situated on 
the south bank of the river, Japanese 
automatic weapons and mortars from an 
Eguchi Detachment OPLR strongpoint 
had been harassing the 160th Infantry. 
This strongpoint, and two other OPLR 
positions between Dolores and the 129th 
Infantry's right, had to be eliminated 
before the 160th Infantry could continue 
southwestward and before the security of 
all the Clark Field runways could be 
assured. 

The last unit to receive the impact of 
the pressure from higher headquarters 
was the unit in contact, the 129th Infan- 
try, which General Beightler directed to 
extend its right as far as the Bamban 
River and secure the Dolores area. 32 The 
regiment cleared the hills near Dolores 
with little difficulty on 30 January, most 
of the defenders having already with- 
drawn in accordance with the Kembu 
Group's orders of the 29th. Since the 
Eguchi Detachment had abandoned prac- 
tically its last forward positions during 
the night and since the Yanagimoto De- 
tachment had also withdrawn to the 
MLR, the 129th Infantry encountered 
only light opposition as it continued 
westward, securing the rubble of Fort 
Stotsenburg by dusk on the 30th. Be- 
fore dark, right flank units, driving into 
rising ground west of the camp area, 
gained contact with an Eguchi Detach- 
ment MLR strongpoint. So easily had 
the advance been made during the day 
that it appeared that all the dominating 
high ground close to Fort Stotsenburg 
could be cleared without much trouble. 

Meanwhile, north of the Bamban, the 
160th Infantry battled on against the 
Takaya Detachment MLR. Resistance 



37th Div FO afi, sg Jan 45. 



was stiffer than any the 160th had yet 
encountered, and the regiment, losing 1 1 
men killed and 86 wounded, gained only 
500 yards of new ground during the day. 
The 108th Infantry continued to make 
local advances in its area and by evening 
on the 30th had finally secured Hill 5. 
The 108th also cleared Thrall Hill, a 
height 1,000 yards south of Hill 5 that 
remnants of Takaya Detachment OPLR 
units defended fiercely. With the seizure 
of Thrall Hill the 40th Division had 
overrun almost the last of the isolated 
OPLR pockets. 

On 31 January the 108th Infantry in- 
stituted long-range patrolling westward, 
making no contact with organized Japa- 
nese forces. The 160th Infantry, to the 
south, again could make very little prog- 
ress in the face of fanatic opposition, al- 
though the regiment had the closest 
possible artillery support and was also 
supported by tanks brought up along flat 
ground on the north bank of the Bamban. 

As had been the case of the 30th, the 
key action on 31 January took place 
along the 129th Infantry's front. The 
regiment's objective for the day was a 
large, bare-sloped commanding hill mass 
known as Top of the World, lying about 
1,200 yards beyond Fort Stotsenburg 
and marking the western limits of the 
XIV Corps' objective area as then de- 
fined. The Eguchi Detachment had the 
open approaches to the 1 ,000-foot-high 
hill mass covered with 20-mm., 25-mm., 
and 40-mm. automatic weapons, the fires 
of which were reinforced by a few mor- 
tars and light artillery pieces. Once Top 
of the World and nearby knobs were 
taken, the security of Fort Stotsenburg 
and Clark Field could be assured against 
fire from anything except long-range 
artillery. 



186 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



The ist Battalion, 129th Infantry, 
launched the attack against Top of the 
World at 0900 on 31 January. Delayed 
and sometimes pinned in place by Japa- 
nese fire during the morning, the battal- 
ion secured the steep, grassy, southern 
and southeastern slopes of the hill by 
midafternoon, and before dark some 
troops were halfway up those slopes. On 
the morning of the next day, 1 February, 
there was considerable maneuvering by 
small units all across the hill's open 
slopes, and from time to time the de- 
fenders and the attackers almost reached 
the point of engaging in games of catch 
with hand grenades. Despite determined 
resistance on the part of the Japanese, 
the 129th Infantry battalion gained the 
crest of the hill mass at 1330. Clark 
Field was secure. 

The Attack Through the End of January 

With the seizure of Top of the World 
and the 160th Infantry's concomitant 
penetration of the Takaya Detachment 
MLR, the critical phase of XIV Corps' 
battle against the Kembu Group came to 
a successful end. The 37th and 40th Di- 
visons had overrun the group's OPLR, 
they had pierced the MLR in both the 
Takaya and the Eguchi Detachment sec- 
tors, and they had destroyed the Yanagi- 
moto Detachment as an armored force. 
They had inflicted over 3,500 casualties 
on the Japanese, whose fanaticism and 
tenacity is illustrated in part, at least, by 
the fact that the American forces had 
taken less than 10 prisoners in the Clark 
Field area since the attack began on 24 
January. Through 31 January the 37th 
and 40th Divisions, together with rein- 
forcing units, had lost roughly 150 men 



killed and 600 wounded. As usual, the 
infantry bore the brunt of the losses. The 
casualties of the four regiments partici- 
pating in the attack west from Route 3 
approximated: 33 



Regiment 


Killed 


Wounded 


Total 


129th 


50 


230 


280 


145 th 


5 


10 


15 


108th 


30 


125 


155 


160th 


45 


215 


260 


Total 


130 


580 


710 



Probably an equal number of men had 
had to be evacuated from the front lines 
as the result of injuries, sickness, heat 
exhaustion, and combat fatigue. 

Of greater significance than the casu- 
alties were the tactical results of the 
battle against the Kembu Group through 
3 1 January. XIV Corps had secured the 
Clark Field air center for the Allied Air 
Forces— construction work had already 
begun and the Fifth Air Force planes 
would soon be flying from repaired 
strips. Next, the corps, pushing the 
Kembu Group westward, had assured for 
itself the uninterrupted flow of supplies 
down Route 3 and the Manila Railroad, 
securing a line of communications along 
which future advances toward Manila 
could be supported. 

The fight against the Kembu Group 
was not yet over. Manifestly, the rest of 
General Tsukada's forces could not be 
left at large — his strength was still poten- 
tially too great — but the XIV Corps had 
made sufficient progress by 31 January 
that plans could be made to release one 
division from the Kembu Group to 
continue the drive toward Manila. 



M The table is based upon incomplete, contradic- 
tory, and mutually irreconcilable figures contained 
in the sources cited previously in this chapter. 



CHAPTER XI 

Protecting XIV Corps' Rear and Flanks 



The Problem and the Plan 

At the end of January the speed of 
XIV Corps' progress toward Manila con- 
tinued to depend largely upon the pace 
of I Corps' advan ce to the east and south. 
\(See Map 777T| On 31 January XIV 
Corps was preparing to send the %jth 
Division on toward Manila along Route 
3, while the 1st Cavalry Division, re- 
cently attached to the corps, was assem- 
bled at Guimba and making ready to 
mount a complementary drive toward 
the capital down the east side of the 
Central Plains via Route 5, 1 

XIV Corps had made provision to se- 
cure its right rear and its line of com- 
munications against the threat posed by 
the remaining troops of the Kembu 
Group by directing the 40th Division to 
resume the westward offensive in the 
Clark Field area and drive the Kembu 
Group deeper into the Zambales Moun- 
tains. Some additional measure of pro- 
tection had been given XIV Corps' right 
by XI Corps, which had landed on the 
west coast of Luzon north of Bataan and 
was well inland toward the base of 
Bataan Peninsula by the end of January, 
Although XI Corps had not, as Mac- 
Arthur had hoped, "completely dislo- 
cated" the resistance the Kembu Group 
offered, the corps had pinned down a 



first-class Japanese infantry regiment 
that might otherwise have been deployed 
to good advantage at Clark Field. 2 Fur- 
thermore, MacArthur and Krueger 
hoped that opposition in front of XIV 
Corps, as that corps drove on toward 
Manila, might be at least partially dis- 
located by the 11th Airborne Division, 
which, under Eighth Army direction, 
had landed on 31 January along Luzon's 
west coast south of Manila. 3 The prin- 
cipal problem, then, was still the security 
of the XIV Corps' left rear, security that 
I Corps had to provide. 

Directed by General Krueger to move 
up in strength to the Licab-Lupao line, 
I Corps had set its 6th Division in mo- 
tion toward the southern section of that 
objective line on 28 January. 4 That 
afternoon the 6th Division had troops in 
Victoria and Guimba, which previously 
marked the unit's limits of reconnais- 
sance, and on the next day relieved a 
37th Division outpost at Licab, five miles 
east of Victoria." Encountering no op- 
position, the 6th Division left sped east- 



1 XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 75; Sixth Army 
FO 46, 30 Jan 4fi, Sixth A rmy Rpt Luzon, I, 148-49. 
See also helow jch. XII. 



1 Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CAX-5O027, 17 Jan 
45 Six th Army Rpt Lu zon, I, 113—13. See also chs. 
I VIII, l above, and XVII .j below. 
» See below j ch. XlTf 

4 For selection of this line, see above jeh. XJ 
* Operational material in this section is from; 6th 
Div Rpt Lu7on, pp. 14, 23; 6th Cav Ren Tr Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 19-23; 1st Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 19-21; 20th 
Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 18-20; 25th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 
25-28; 25th Cav Ren Tr Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-4; 35th 
Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 12-13; 27th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 
9-11, 



188 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



ward orr2g January along a good gravel 
road that, led through hot, dry, flat farm 
land and cut. Route 5 in the vicinity of 
Talavcra, almost twelve miles east of 
Licab. On 30 January, after a skirmish 
with a small Japanese force, the division 
secured the road junction barrio of 
Baloc, on Route 5 about five miles north 
of Talavera. Far more easily than ex- 
pected, the 6th Division had severed the 
main line of communications between 
the Shobu and Shirnbu Groups, two- 
lane, paved Route 5. 

Munoz, marking the northern end of 
the 6th Division's section of the Licab- 
Lupao line, lay on Route 5 and the San 
Jose branch of the Manila Railroad 
some five miles north of Baloc. On 27 
January the 6th Reconnaissance Troop 
reported the town unoccupied, but upon 
reinvestigation the next, day discovered 
a strong Japanese force in and around 
the town. On the 30th one rifle company 
of the 20th Infantry, 6th Division, un- 
successfully attempted to clear the town, 
and the 6th Division learned that the 
objective was not to be taken without a 
stiff fight. 

Meanwhile, the 6th Reconnaissance 
Troop had ranged far to the south of 
Munoz and Talavera. On the 28th, ele- 
ments of the troop reached the vicinity 
of Cabanatuan, about seven miles south 
of Talavera and nearly fifteen east of 
Licab. Unlike XIV Corps patrols a few 
days earlier, the 6th Division's reconnais- 
sance units reported that a strong force of 
Japanese held Cabanatuan, but the 6th 
Reconnaissance Troop found no other 
signs of Japanese south of Talavera and 
Licab. Other 6th Division patrols learned 
that the Japanese had established a coun- 
terreconnaissance screen west of Munoz 
and San Jose. 



The 35th Division, on the 6th's left, 
had not been successful in moving up to 
its portion of the Licab-Lupao line. 
Coming out of army reserve on 28 Janu- 
ary, the 25th Division's 555th Infantry 
marched east along Route 8 from Rosalcs 
and by evening the next day, unopposed 
on its advance through hot, dry, ricc- 
paddy country, had reached barrio Gon- 
zales, on gravel-paved Route 8 nearly ten 
miles west-northwest of Lupao. In the 
meantime the 27th Infantry, moving 
overland via narrow, dusty, dirt roads 
south of Route 8, had driven a Japanese 
outpost from barrio Pemienta, on Route 
8 three miles east of Gonzales. 

Unknown to the 25th Division, a small 
tank-artillery force of the 2d Tank Divi- 
sion had been trapped along the highway 
between Gonzales and Pemienta. From 
2000 on the 29th until 0430 the next 
morning the force tried unsuccessfully to 
break through a perimeter the 27th In- 
fantry had established at Pemienta. By 
the time the action had ended the Amer- 
ican regiment had killed 125 Japanese 
and had destroyed S tanks, 8 artillery 
prime movers, 4 tractors, 8 105-mm. 
howitzers, 5 trucks, and miscellaneous 
other equipment. The 27th Infantry's 
own losses were about 15 men killed and 
45 wounded. 

Meanwhile, 25th Division patrols had 
learned that the Japanese held Umingan, 
on Route 8 five miles northwest of 
Lupao, in some strength. On 30 January 
the 27th Infantry started moving into 
position to strike the town from the 
north and northwest, while the 35th In- 
fantry began preparing a holding attack 
from the west and. south west. To cover 
these preparations, the 25th Reconnais- 
sance Troop patrolled toward Lupao 
and other towns along Route 8 between 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



189 




Wrecked Japanese Tank -Artillery Column, Near Pf.mtf.nta 



Umigan and San Jose. The troop made 
scattered contacts with many small 
groups of Japanese in the region west of 
the highway and south of Umingan, in- 
dicating that the Japanese had a counter- 
reconnaissance screen in the 25th 
Division's sector as well as in the 6th 
Division's area. 

Although the 25th Division had not 
reached Lupao, the advances made by I 
Corps' two right flank divisions through 
30 January were of considerable impor- 
tance to future Sixth Army planning. 
First, by severing Route 5, the 6th Divi- 
sion had forced the Shobu-Shimbu 
Group line of communications eastward 
to poor roads in the foothills of the 
Sierra Madre beyond the main highway. 
Even these routes would be denied the 
Japanese once I Corps could secure 
Cabanatuan and San Jose. Then, by the 
end of January, I Corps had gathered 



sufficient information from patrols, cap- 
tured documents, Filipino guerrillas, 
prisoners of war, and aerial reconnais- 
sance for Sixth Army to conclude that 
strong elements of the 2d Tank Division 
were concentrated in the triangle formed 
by San Jose, Munoz, and Lupao. Gen- 
eral Krueger also had reason to believe 
that the 10th Division had considerable 
strength at or near San Jose. The 6th 
Division's unopposed advances to 30 Jan- 
uary, and its discovery that there were 
no Japanese west of Route 5 in the re- 
gion south of Licab and Talavera, indi- 
cated to Krueger that the dangers to the 
XIV Corps' left rear were not as great as 
he had previously feared. On the other 
hand, he was unwilling to discount en- 
tirely the threat presented by the 2d 
Tank Division and 10th Division con- 
centrations in the San Jose-Munoz- 
Lupao area. His interpretation of avail- 



190 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



able intelligence did not lead him to be- 
lieve that the Japanese forces in the area 
had only defensive intentions, and he 
therefore felt the two Japanese units had 
an offensive potential he could not 
ignore. I Corps, Krueger decided, would 
have to make long strides toward over- 
coming the threat from the San Jose- 
Munoz-Lupao triangle before the XIV 
Corps' advance to Manila could proceed 
unchecked. 6 

Accordingly, on 30 January, General 
Krueger directed I Corps to drive east- 
ward in order to seize San Jose and 
secure a line extending from that town 
to Cabanatuan and Rizal, respectively 
twenty miles sou th and ten miles south- 



Once on this 
to 



east of San Jose. (Map 5) 
line, I Corps would reconnoiter 
Luzon's east coast at Baler and Dingalen 
Bays. Krueger also changed the I-XIV 
Corps boundary from the earlier north- 
south line through the Central Plains, 
turned the line east of Licab, passed it 
north of Cabanatuan, and swung it 
thence southeast to Dingalen Bay. 7 

The Capture of San Jose 

Japanese and American 
Tactical Plans 

General Yamashita was vitally inter- 
ested in the defense of San Jose for 
reasons that, as of 30 January, were of 
secondary importance to General 
Krueger. Krueger knew that with the 
successful accomplishment of its mission 
I Corps would have cut the last overland 
links between the Shimbu and Shobu 
Groups and would have gained a good 



base of attack against the Shobu Group 
concentration in northern Luzon, but 
Krueger's main interest was the protec- 
tion of XIV Corps' left rear. Yamashita, 
on the other hand, intended to hold San 
Jose and its approaches until he could 
move all the supplies stockpiled there 
north into the mountains along Route 5 
and until the ro^th Division could pass 
through the town on its way north from 
the Shimbu Group to join the Shobu 
Group. Yamashita estimated that his 
troops could move the bulk of the sup- 
plies — mainly ammunition— still at San 
Jose out of town by the end of the first 
week in February, and he hoped that the 
last elements of the 105th Division would 
have cleared San Jose by the same time. s 
Thus Yamashita viewed the defense of 
San Jose as a holding action of limited 
duration. Yet the course of future oper- 
ations in northern Luzon would be de- 
termined in large measure by the nature 
of the defensive stand of the 2d Tank 
Division and attached elements of the 
roth and 105th Divisions. Upon that de- 
fense depended the quantity of supplies 
the Japanese could move out of San Jose 
and environs before losing that railhead, 
the strength the 2d Tank Division would 
have left, and the size and composition 
of the forces the 105th Division could 
move through the town before it fell. 
Manifestly, if I Corps could capture San 
Jose quickly, Sixth Army's ultimate task 
in northern Luzon would be much 
easier. 



" Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 32. 
7 Sixth Army FO 46, 30 Jan 45, Sixth Army Rpt 
Luzon, I, 148—49. 



8 Japanese information in this section and its sub- 
sections is from: SWPA Hist Series, II, 444-46; 14th 
Area Army Tr Org List; Kawai Statement, States, 
II, 145—49; Konuma Statement, States, II, 300—40; 
Kawai Narrative and atchd maps, 10th I&H Staff 
Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon; 6th Div Rpt Luzon, 
p. 31; 25th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 29, 31-33. 



192 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



The Japanese forces at and in front of 
San Jose were deployed in scattered de- 
tachments in an attempt to provide a 
defense in depth. Yamashita had in- 
tended that defenses would be concen- 
trated at Lupao and Munoz, but instead 
the 2d Tank Division had split its avail- 
able forces — including the attachments 
from the ioth and 105th Divisions — 
among eight separate strongpoints. At 
Umingan, for example, the garrison was 
built around the 3d Battalion, 26th In- 
dependent Mixed Regiment, one of the 
five infantry battalions that the 105th 
Division had started north from the 
Shimbu area. 9 The battalion was rein- 
forced by a rifle company that the ioth 
Division had left behind as it withdrew 
up Route 5. 

Lupao was held by a tank company 
each of the yth and ioth Tank Regi- 
ments, two companies of the 2d Mobile 
Infantry, a three-gun (75-mm.) artillery 
platoon, and 2d Tank Division engineer 
and ordnance troops. San Isidro, on 
Route 8 midway between Lupao and San 
Jose, was garrisoned by the ioth Tank 
Regiment, less one company. The 2d 
Tank Division's headquarters, along 
with minor engineer and infantry units, 
was located on Route 5 two miles north 



* Insofar as can be ascertained from contradictory 
Japanese and American sources, the composition of 
the force the 105th Division moved north was: 
Headquarters, 105th Division, less elements 
105th Division Artillery, less batteries 
105th Division Engineers, less 7 companies 
$d Battalion, 16th Independent Mixed Regiment 

(attached) 
184th Independent Infantry Battalion 
iSjd Independent Infantry Battalion, less s»i/ 2 
companies 

359th Independent Infantry Battalion, less sl/ 2 
companies 

Company, l$2d Independent Infantry Battalion 
Tnoue Provisional Infantry Battalion 



of San Jose. A bit further north, in 
sharply rising ground east of the high- 
way, there was another groupment com- 
posed of two 75-mm. batteries, two 
infantry companies, and a tank company. 

The Ida Detachment defended Munoz, 
Numbering nearly 2,000 men, this com- 
bat command included the 6th Tank 
Regiment, less one company; the bulk 
of the 356th Independent Infantry Bat- 
talion, 103d Division; 10 a battery of 105- 
mm. howitzers from the 2d Mobile Ar- 
tillery; and elements of the 2d Tank 
Division's Antitank Unit, which were 
armed with 47-mm. guns. At an agri- 
cultural school on Route 5 about a mile 
and a half northeast of Munoz was a 
small force of infantry and antitank guns; 
a similar groupment held barrios Caan- 
awan and Abar No. 2, on Route 5 two 
miles southwest of San Jose. Rizal was 
garrisoned by a company each of tanks, 
infantry, and antitank guns, reinforced 
by two or three 75-mm. weapons. There 
was no permanent garrison in San Jose 
itself, which had long been a prime 
target for Allied Air Force planes. 

The Japanese made little provision to 
defend the fairly open ground adjacent 
to Routes 5 and 8 on the way to San 
Jose. They made no attempt, either, to 
block Route 09, a third-class road that 
connected Lupao and Munoz. They had, 
in brief, no plan to forestall American 
flanking maneuvers against the isolated 
individual strongpoints. 

All defenses were fixed. Most of the 
available tanks were dug in as pillboxes, 
and the Japanese had no plans for their 
withdrawal. After the war, 14th Area 
Army and 2d Tank Division officers of- 



10 This battalion had formerly been attached to 
the ioth Division. 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



193 



fered many explanations for the unor- 
thodox, static use of the armor, citing 
fuel shortages, Allied air superiority, 
terrain difficulties, and the light arma- 
ment and armor of the Japanese tanks 
as compared to the American. No doubt 
all these explanations have some validity, 
but they also reveal that Yamashita was 
willing to sacrifice the 2d Tank Division, 
which he would have found difficult to 
employ in a more normal role, in the 
static defense of the approaches to San 
Jose. He had obviously determined that 
the approaches would be held, whatever 
the cost, until the 105th Division and the 
ammunition stockpiled at San Jose had 
moved north up Route 5. 

I Corps plan for the attack on San 
Jose was simplicity itself, as is the nature 
of most good plans. General Swift, the 
corps commander, decided upon a pin- 
cers movement. The 6th Division, to 
make the main effort, would attack 
northeast up Route 5 through Munoz; 
the 25th Division would support with a 
drive southeast along Route 8 through 
Umingan and Lupao. General Swift re- 
inforced each division for the attack. To 
the 25th Division he attached a 155-mm. 
gun battalion, an 8-inch howitzer battal- 
ion, a 4.2-inch mortar company, and a 
company of medium tanks. The 6th 
Division's reinforcements included a 
155-mm. howitzer battalion, two 105-mm. 
howitzer battalions, a 4.2-inch mortar 
company, a company of medium tanks, 
and two platoons of light tanks. The 6th 
Division would provide its own protec- 
tion on its right and right rear; the 25th 
Division's left rear would be protected 
by the sj2d Division, which had started to 
move into the line between the 25th and 
43d Divisions. The 43d Division and 
the 158th RCT would hold the ground 



they had secured in the Damortis-Rosario 
sector. 11 

The Attack Begins 

The drive toward San Jose began on 
the morning of 1 February as the 20th 
Infantry, 6th Division, gathered for an 
assault on Munoz and the 27th Infantry, 
25th Division, struck toward Umingan. 12 
The ground around Munoz, flat and 
open, provided neither cover nor con- 
cealment for the attackers, and was 
broken only by a few drainage or irriga- 
tion ditches within the town and by a 
gentle draw opening westward from the 
town's center. A few, small, scattered 
trees afforded the only shade in the vicin- 
ity — heat from the broiling tropical sun 
would become a problem for the 20th 
Infantry. Few houses within the town 
were still intact, for American air and 
artillery bombardment had already made 
a shambles of most buildings. 

Japanese medium tanks, mounting 47- 
mm. weapons and machine guns, formed 
the backbone of the defense. Most of the 
tanks were dug in with turrets barely 
showing above ground. Artillery and 
47-mm. antitank guns were in sand- 
bagged or earthen-walled emplacements 
that only a direct hit by American mor- 
tars or high-angle artillery fire could 
knock out. Japanese infantry and ma- 
chine gunners held strongpoints through- 
out the Munoz debris, which also 
provided camouflage for many artillery 
and tank positions. 

11 1 Corps FO 8, 31 Jan 45; 55 th Div FO 7, 31 Jan 
45, 35th Inf Jnl File, 31 Jan 45; 6th Div FO la, 31 
Jan 45. 

'* Information on 6th Division operations in this 
section is generally from: 6th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 
23-47; 20th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 17-21; 20th Inf S-3 
Per Rpts, 31 Jan-3 Feb 45- 



194 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




On i February the 3d Battalion, aoth 
Infantry, led the attack with an attempt 
to gain control of a 2,000-yard stretch of 
Route 99 along the western edge of 
Munoz. After fifteen minutes' prepara- 
tion by a battalion of 105-mm. howitzers 
and two platoons of 4.2-inch mortars, 
the infantry struck from the southwest 
at 0800. About 1130, when the leading 
troops were still 500 yards short of 
Route 99, Japanese tank and artillery 
fire from the southern end of Munoz 
stalled the attack. The 1st Battalion then 
came up on the right, but was able only 
to clear a few Japanese from a cemetery 



stretching along Route 5 and the Manila 
Railroad at the southeastern corner of 
town. 

The 2d of February was essentially a 
repetition of the 1st, and again the 20th 
Infantry made only slight gains. Gen- 
eral Patrick, the 6th Division's com- 
mander, began to lose patience. He was 
already dissatisfied with the 20th Infan- 
try's earlier performance in the Cabar- 
nan Hills and was increasingly disturbed 
by what he felt was inordinately slow 
progress at Munoz. He thereupon re- 
lieved the aoth's commander, Colonel 
Ives, an action he later came to regret, 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



195 



and replaced Ives with Lt. Col. Harold 
G. Maison. 13 

On 3 February the 2d Battalion, 20th 
Infantry, moved in on the northwest, 
but could not reach Route 99 in its sec- 
tor. The 3d Battalion pushed across that 
road at the southwest corner of Munoz, 
but gained only half a block into the 
main section of the town. The 1st Bat- 
talion, on the south side of Munoz, made 
negligible progress. By dusk, the 20th 
Infantry had overrun a few Japanese 
strongpoints, but in order to hold its 
gains had had to destroy completely and 
physically occupy every position it had 
reached so far. Munoz, General Patrick 
had begun to realize, was going to be a 
costly, hard, and time-consuming nut to 
crack. The 20th Infantry had not yet 
closed with the main Japanese defenses, 
but had spent most of the last three days 
pinned down by Japanese artillery, tank, 
and machine gun fire. Only by hugging 
the ground and taking advantage of the 
little cover even shattered tree stumps af- 
forded had the regiment kept its casu- 



" Entries 33 and 34, 20th Inf Unit Jnl, 1-2 Feb 45; 
6th Div G-i Jnl, 2 Feb 45; Interv, Stanley L. Falk, 
Pacific Sec, OCMH, with Col O'Connor, formerly 
CO 53d FA Btl, 6th Div, i Sep 53, copy of interv notes 
in OCMH files. According to Colonel O'Connor, 
Maj. Gen. Charles E. Hurdis, who became com- 
mander of the 6th Division when Patrick was killed 
later in the campaign, felt that Patrick came to be- 
lieve after the battle for'Munoz that in the light 
of the Japanese strength ultimately discovered there 
Colonel Ives's relief was regrettable and unjustifiable. 
Ives later commanded a regiment of the 38th Divi- 
sion on Luzon, reflecting the fact that General Krue- 
ger still had confidence in him. Maison had 
temporarily commanded the 63d Infantry during 
the fight for the Routes 3—1 i junction, but had 
reverted to the post of regimental executive officer 
upon the arrival of Col. Everett M. Yon to take 
over the 63d. Yon, in turn, had previously com- 
manded a regiment of the 93d Division, which was 
being scattered around the Southwest Pacific Area 
in various small garrisons. 



alties down to 15 men killed and 90 
wounded. 

The 6th Division, bogged down at 
Munoz, could take some wry consolation 
from the fact that the 25th Division had 
made no better progress at Umingan, 
where the cover and concealment prob- 
lems were much the same as at Munoz. 14 
On 1 February the 25th's 27th Infantry 
attacked from the north and west. Under 
cover of artillery and air support, troops 
operating along Route 8 advanced to 
within 250 yards of Umingan's western 
edge, but Japanese machine gun and 
rifle fire then pinned them down. Japa- 
nese antitank weapons drove off Ameri- 
can tanks that came up Route 8 to 
support the infantry, while irrigation 
ditches on both sides of the road pre- 
vented the tanks from executing cross- 
country maneuvers. The infantry sought 
what cover it could find in these and 
other irrigation ditches, and, since many 
of the ditches were charged with noisome 
excrement that flowed sluggishly through 
dry rice paddies, spent a thoroughly un- 
pleasant afternoon. Meanwhile, ele- 
ments of the 27th Infantry attacking 
from the north had also spent most of 
the day seeking cover from Japanese fire. 
Toward dusk these troops had advanced 
only as far as an almost-dry creek bed 
500 yards north of Umingan. As night 
fell one company employed another 
creek bed to push into the northwestern 
corner of the town, but after that the 
attack stalled completely. 

During the course of the day General 
Mullins, the 25th Division's commander, 

11 Information on 25th Division operations in this 
subsection is from: 25th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 27-30; 
25th Div G-3 Jnl File, 1-3 Feb 45; 2^th Div G-3 
Opns Rpts, 1- Feb 45; 27th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 12- 
15; 37th Inf S-3 Opns Rpts, i_3 Feb 45; 35th Inf Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 13-16; 35th Inf Jnl Files, 1—3 Feb 45. 



196 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



had decided to employ part of the 35th 
Infantry to bypass Umingan to the 
south. Moving cross-country along one- 
lane dirt roads, a battalion of the 35th, 
encountering no opposition, occupied 
San Roque barrio, on Route 8 nearly 
four miles southeast of Umingan and a 
little over a mile north of Lupao. An- 
other battalion of the 35th Infantry had 
held during the day in open ground 
south of Umingan, but early on the 2d 
drove up a third-class road against the 
southeastern corner of the town. Mullins 
had already directed the 35th Infantry to 
use its remaining battalion in an attack 
west into Umingan along Route 8. 1B 

The 35th's two battalions did not meet 
expected resistance on 2 February, for 
diiring the night most of the Japanese 
infantry had withdrawn northeast from 
Umingan into the grassy foothills of the 
Caraballo Mountains. By 1300 on the 
2d, the 35th Infantry had cleared most of 
Umingan, leaving two final pockets for 
the 27th Infantry to reduce the next day. 
When a summation was made at dusk on 
the 3d, the 35th Infantry's casualties in 
the reduction of Umingan were 3 men 
killed and 13 wounded, while the 27th 
Infantry had lost nearly 40 men killed 
and 130 wounded. The Japanese, who 
lost about 150 killed, left behind eight 
47-mm, antitank guns along with large 
quantities of 47-mm. and 75-mm. 
ammunition. 

The capture of Umingan had taken a 
day longer than General Mullins had 
anticipated, casualties had been high 
compared to those of the Japanese, and 
the main body of the Japanese had es- 
caped to fight again. Hoping to make 
up the time lost, Mullins pushed the 



11 25th Div FO 8, 1 Feb 45. 



35th Infantry on toward Lupao during 
the afternoon of 2 February, hardly giv- 
ing the regiment time to regroup after 
its operations at Umingan. 16 The regi- 
ment estimated that a company of Japa- 
nese infantry, reinforced by fifteen to 
twenty medium tanks, held Lupao. If 
so, the regiment felt, it would need only 
one reinforced battalion to capture the 
town, and it expected to clear the 
objective by 1800 on the 2d. 17 

The 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, lead- 
ing the advance on Lupao, met no 
resistance during the afternoon of 2 Feb- 
ruary until its lead company was within 
750 yards of town. Then, Japanese ar- 
tillery, mortar, and machine gun fire 
stopped the attack cold. Attempts to 
outflank the defenses across the open 
ground of dry rice paddies that sur- 
rounded the town proved unavailing, 
and at dusk the battalion withdrew 500 
yards westward to allow supporting artil- 
lery and mortars to lay concentrations 
into the town. Resuming frontal attacks 
the next morning, the 35th Infantry, 
still trying to advance across open ground, 
again made no significant progress. Like 
the 20th Infantry in front of Munoz, the 
35th Infantry had been stopped at Lupao. 

Outflanking Maneuvers 

By late afternoon of 3 February, Gen- 
eral Patrick and General Mullins faced 
nearly identical situations. Stalled in 
front of intermediate objectives, the two 
division commanders had to devise some 
means of bypassing and containing the 
Japanese strongpoints at Lupao and 

1B Change No. 1, b Feb 45, to 25th Div FO 8, 1 
Feb 45. 

" 35th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 15; 35th Inf FO a, a Feb 
45, 35th Inf Jnl File, 2 Feb 45. 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



197 



Mufioz while pressing the attack toward 
San Jose. General Patrick, although he 
had not expected the delay at Munoz, 
had forehandedly directed the ist Infan- 
try to reconnoiter six miles east of Mufioz 
to the Talavera River with a view to- 
ward locating an overland approach to 
the San Jose—Rizal road at the point 
where that road crossed the Talavera 
three miles southeast of San Jose. Here, 
he had reasoned, the ist Infantry might 
assemble for an attack toward San Jose, 
if necessary, to support the 20th Infan- 
try's drive up Route 5. Orders to the 1st 
Infantry to move to the Talavera cross- 
ing went out during the late afternoon 
of 1 February. Simultaneously, Patrick 
directed his 63d Infantry to bypass 
Munoz to the east and come back onto 
Route 5 north of the town, ready to 
drive on San Jose in concert with the 
1st Infantry. 18 

General Mullins made somewhat simi- 
lar arrangements to bypass Lupao. Tem- 
porarily leaving the 27th Infantry at 
Umingan and assigning the task of clear- 
ing Lupao to the 35th Infantry, Mullins 
directed the 161st Infantry to move 
cross-country to positions on Route 99 
south of Lupao and then push on to 
Route 8 between San Isidro, four miles 
southeast of Lupao, and San Jose. The 
regiment would patrol toward San Jose 
in preparation, if the need arose, for 
helping the 6th Division secure that 
town. The 35th Infantry, in addition to 
capturing Lupao, would cut Route 8 be- 



"fith Div FO 12, 31 Jan 45; fith Div FO jg. 2 Feb 
45; Msgs, CG 6th Div to CO 1st Inf, 1530 and 1700 

1 Feb 45, 1st Inf S-3 Jnls, 31 Jan-i Feb and 1-2 
Feb 45, respectively; Entries timed 0945 ^nd 1300 

2 Feb 45, 63d Inf S-2/S-3 Jnl, a Feb 45. The 63d 
Infantry returned to 6th Division control on 1 Feb- 
ruary upon release from -attachment to the 43d 
Division. 



tween Lupao and San Isidro with a force 
of sufficient strength to prevent Japanese 
movements between the two towns, both 
now known to be held in some strength. 19 

The 3d Battalion, 35th Infantry, mov- 
ing over rising ground northeast of 
Lupao, established itself on Route 8 
about 1,500 yards southeast of the town 
during the afternoon of 3 February. The 
next day the battalion forced its way into 
the southern edge of Lupao against 
heavy opposition, but 35th Infantry 
troops north and west of the town made 
no progress. Meanwhile, the 161st In- 
fantry had started moving and by mid- 
afternoon on 4 February had set up 
roadblocks on Route 8 southeast of San 
Isidro. The regiment was ready to at- 
tack toward either San Isidro or San Jose, 
but progress made by the 35th Infantry, 
to the northwest, and the 6th Division, 
to the southeast, made further advances 
unnecessary for the time being. 20 

The 6th Division's flanking operations 
began shortly after 1700 on 1 February 
when elements of the 1st Infantry started 
north along the west bank of the Tala- 
vera River. The regiment secured the 
Talavera crossing on the San Jose-Rizal 
road during the late afternoon of 2 Feb- 
ruary after a sharp skirmish with a small 
Japanese infantry-tank force. Mean- 
while, other troops of the 1st Infantry 



'•25th Div FO 8, 1 Feb 45, and Change No. 1 
thereto, 2 Feb 45; Rad, CG 25th Div to CO 161st Inf, 
0915 3 Feb 45, Sfjth Div G-3 Jnl File, 2— g Feb 45; 
Rad, CG 25th Div to CO 35th Inf, 0900 3 Feb 45, 
35th Inf Jnl File, g Feb 45; Entry 1, 161st Inf Jnl, 
3 Feb 45; Entry 2, )6ist Inf Jnl, 4 Feb 45, The 161st 
Infantry, previously holding at San Manuel, was 
relieved there by elements of the 32d Division on 
2 February. 

"25th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 29-31; 35th Inf Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 16—17; •6'st Inf. The Battle of San Isidro. 
p. 2. 



198 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



came up from the southeast and, bypass- 
ing Rizal to the west, turned northwest 
along the San Jose-Rizal road. These 
troops encountered only scattered oppo- 
sition. By late afternoon on 3 February 
most of the 1st Infantry had assembled 
at two positions 1,000 yards south and 
1,500 yards east of San Jose. 21 

The 63d Infantry, also bypassing 
Munoz to the east, reached the agricul- 
tural school on Route 5 a mile and a 
half northeast of Munoz on the after- 
noon of 2 February. Leaving a rein- 
forced company to clean out the Japanese 
tank-infantry groupment at the school, 
the bulk of the regiment pressed on up 
Route 5 during the next afternoon and 
by dusk, having encountered little oppo- 
sition, was within sight of barrios Caana- 
wan and Abar No. 2, two miles short of 
San Jose. 22 The situation seemed to 
favor a two-regiment attack against San 
Jose on the 4th, and at 2000 on the 3d 
General Patrick ordered the execution 
of such an attack. 23 

The Seizure of San Jose 

The prospect of an all-out battle at 
San Jose turned out to be a chimera. 
Indeed, after the costly fighting at Lupao 
and Munoz and exhausting night march- 
es entailed in the 6th and 25th Divisions' 
flanking maneuvers, the actual capture 
of the objective came as a pleasant anti- 
climax. Held up by the Japanese tank- 
infantry groupment in the vicinity of 
Abar No. 2, the 63d Infantry took no 
part in the seizure of San Jose, but two 



51 1st Inf Rpt Luzon pp. 21-23; 1st Inf S-g Jnl, 1-3 
Feb 45. 

"63d Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 7-8; 6th Div G-g Jnl, 
1-3 Feb 45. 
* 6th Div FO 14, 3 Feb 45. 



companies of the 1st Infantry walked 
into San Jose virtually unopposed dur- 
ing the morning of 4 February. By 1330 
the regiment had secured the objective 
at a cost to the 1st Infantry of 2 men 
killed and 25 wounded, including 1 
killed and 7 wounded when Fifth Air 
Force B-25*s made an unscheduled 
strafing run across the regimental front. 24 

The seizure of San Jose turned out to 
be anticlimactical for at least two other 
reasons. Two days before the town fell, 
I Corps' progress as far as Lupao and 
Munoz, disclosing that the Japanese had 
committed their forces to a piecemeal, 
passive defense of the approaches to San 
Jose, had dispelled General Krueger's 
remaining anxieties about counterattack 
from the east and the security of the XIV 
Corps' left rear. The Japanese, having 
failed to organize a strong, mobile strik- 
ing force from their available armor, 
had themselves removed the last vestiges 
of threat from the east and northeast to 
Sixth Army and XIV Corps. 

Accordingly, on the evening of 2 Feb- 
ruary, Krueger had directed XIV Corps 
to resume its drive to Manila with all 
speed. I Corps would proceed with its 
mission to secure the Cabanatuan-Rizal 
line and reconnoiter to Luzon's east 
coast, but henceforth, however heavy the 
actual fighting in the San Jose region, 
I Corps operations would evolve into 
mopping-up actions and would be par- 
tially aimed at securing lines of depar- 
ture from which future attacks could be 
launched against the Shobu Group in 
northern Luzon, 25 



s *6th Div Jnl and Jnl File, 4 Feb 45; 1st Inf Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 23-34. 

™ Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 3s, 45; Sixth Army 
FO 47, s Feb 45, in ibid., I, 149. 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



199 



From one point of view, the Japanese 
themselves had produced the final anti- 
climax for the I Corps at San Jose. By 4 
February the bulk of the forces the xojth 
Division that had so far been able to 
start northward from the Shimbu area 
had slipped through San Jose and were 
well on their way up Route 5 north of 
the town. The Tsuda DeAachment, at- 
tached to the 10th Division, had by the 
same date evacuated its now unimportant 
defensive positions at Baler and Dingalen 
Bays and had withdrawn to Rizal. On or 
about the 4th, the detachment had 
started out of Rizal along a third-class 
road that led north into the mountains. 
Finally, the last of the supplies of the 
Shobu Group needed the most for its 
planned protracted stand in northern 
Luzon had been removed from San Jose 
during the night of 3-4 February. Since 
there was no longer any reason for him 
to hold the town General Yamashita, 
sometime on the 4th, directed the ele- 
ments of the 2d Tank Division (and its 
attachments) still holding defenses for- 
ward of San Jose to break contact and 
retreat up Route 5. 

That I Corps had been unable to pre- 
vent the evacuation of supplies from San 
Jose, the displacement of the rojth Di- 
vision's troops, or the withdrawal of the 
Tsuda Detachment was unfortunate, but 
these tasks had not been among those 
Krueger had assigned the corps. As it 
was, I Corps had probably accomplished 
more than had been expected of it when 
it cut off the main body of the 2d Tank 
Division in front of San Jose. The corps 
could now reduce the division's isolated 
strongpoints at its leisure, could push its 
troops rapidly to the east coast to break 
the last overland connections between 
the Shimbu and Shobu Groups, and 



could secure positions from which to 
launch attacks against the Shobu Group 
when so directed. 

Mop-up on the Approaches to 
San Jose 

Such was the state of Japanese com- 
munications in the San Jose area that 
Yamashita's orders for a general with- 
drawal did not reach 2d Tank Division's 
units south and west of San Jose until 6 
February. 36 In the meantime, the Lupao 
and Mufioz garrisons continued to hold 
out, thwarting the best efforts of the 6th 
and 25th Divisions to dislodge them. 

By 4 February the 20th Infantry attack 
against Munoz had evolved into a siege. 27 
During that day and on through the 6th, 
the regiment's pressure produced minor 
gains, but the more the Japanese force 
was compressed the more difficult be- 
came the 20th Infantry's task. By eve- 
ning on the 6th, the 20th Infantry and its 
supporting forces had knocked out 
nearly thirty-five tanks at Munoz, along 
with a few antitank guns and a number 
of machine guns. The Japanese still had 
twenty to twenty five tanks, they still 
held half the town, and they still had 
over half of their original garrison. The 
20th Infantry had so far lost 40 men 
killed and 175 wounded, while many 

M SWPA Hist Series, II, 446. 

" The remainder of this subsection is based on: 
6th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 27-32; 20th Inf Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 22-25; 20t h ln f ^-3 P er Rpts, 4-8 Feb 45; 63d Inf 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 7—10; 25th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 29—34; 
161st Inf, Battle of San Isidro, passim; 35th Inf Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 16-19. 

On 5 February T. Sgt. Donald E. Rudolph of Com- 
pany E, 20th Infantry, reduced or helped reduce 
eight Japanese pillboxes and destroyed one Japanese 
tank during the 20th Infantry's attacks. For these and 
associated actions, Sergeant Rudolph received the 
Medal of Honor and a battlefield promotion to second 
lieutenant. 



200 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



others had dropped of heat exhaustion 
and combat fatigue. It was clear to Gen- 
eral Patrick that something beyond the 
direct assault methods employed so far 
would have to be tried if the 6th Divi- 
sion was to clear Mufioz within a reason- 
able time and with reasonable casualties. 

A large part of 7 February, Patrick 
planned, would be spent pounding 
Munoz with air and artillery. First, 
about fifty planes of the Fifth Air Force 
were to bomb and strafe, climaxing their 
effort with a napalm saturation. Then 
division artillery and reinforcing corps 
artillery battalions would thoroughly 
plaster the town. Finally, the ground 
troops would resume the assault about 
midafternoon behind a rolling barrage 
laid down by the 6th Division's three 
105-mm. howitzer battalions. The 63d 
Infantry, relieved by the 1st Infantry 
just south of San Jose, would redeploy to 
the south side of Munoz to join the 
final attack of the 20th Infantry, 

The Japanese did not co-operate. 
Under cover of a minor diversionary at- 
tack against the 20th Infantry's lines, the 
main body of the Ida Detachment at- 
tempted to escape up Route 5 during the 
predawn hours of 7 February, apparently 
not realizing that the road from Munoz 
north to San Jose was in American 
hands. Running a gauntlet of road- 
blocks held by the 63d Infantry, the 53d 
and Soth Field Artillery Battalions, and 
the 2d Battalion, 161st Infantry (which 
had moved down to the agricultural 
school from the San Isidro area prepared 
to reinforce the 6th Division for the at- 
tack on Munoz), the Japanese escape 
column was destroyed. After daylight on 
the 7th the 20th Infantry moved into 
Munoz almost unopposed, clearing the 
last resistance by noon. 



The defense of Munoz and Route 5 
north to San Jose cost the 2d Tank Divi- 
sion 52 tanks, 41 trucks, 16 47-mm, guns, 
and 4 105-mm. howitzers destroyed and 
1,500 men killed. In securing the same 
area, the 6th Division lost go men killed 
and nearly 250 wounded, exclusive of 
the casualties incurred by the 1st 
Infantry in and around San Jose. 

At Lupao, meanwhile, the battle had 
developed along lines similar to those at 
Munoz. From 4 through 7 February the 
35th Infantry, placing the emphasis of 
its attack against the south side of Lupao, 
continued to compress the garrison into 
a smaller and smaller space. The Japa- 
nese made a breakout attempt the night 
after the Ida Detachment's flight from 
Munoz. Ten or eleven tanks started out 
of Lupao; five of them managed to break 
through the 35th Infantry's cordon and 
disappeared into the foothills east of 
town, where their crews abandoned 
them. The dismounted Japanese in the 
town melted away, and by noon on the 
8th the 35th Infantry had secured Lupao 
against negligible opposition. The 2d 
Tank Division's losses there included 
over goo troops killed and 33 tanks, 26 
trucks, and 3 75-mm. guns destroyed or 
abandoned. The 35th Infantry and at- 
tached units lost about g5 men killed 
and 270 wounded. 28 

The Japanese garrison at San Isidro 
fled before the 161st Infantry could 
mount an attack, taking to the hills dur- 
ing the night of 5-6 February. The 
161st occupied the town against scattered 

* Although wounded, M. Sgt. Charles L. McGaha 
of Company G, 35th Infantry, assumed command of 
his platoon on 7 February when his platoon com- 
mander was wounded, and also extricated some 
wounded men under Japanese fire. For a combination 
of his actions during the day, Sergeant McGaha 
received the Medal of Honor. 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



201 



rifle fire on the 6th, and for the next few 
days sought out Japanese stragglers in 
rising ground to the northwest, north, 
and northeast. The regiment destroyed 
or found abandoned 23 tanks, 18 trucks, 
2 75-mm. artillery pieces, and a miscel- 
lany of other equipment and supplies. 
A hundred or more Japanese died at or 
near San Isidro, while the 161st Infantry 
lost about 15 men killed and a like 
number wounded in the vicinity. 

The 2d Tank Division was finished as 
an armored unit. In the defense of the 
approaches to San Jose the division had 
lost 180 of the 220 tanks with which it 
had entered combat on Luzon. The di- 
vision's troop losses — exclusive of the 
losses of attached units — numbered 
nearly 2,250 men killed of the 6,500 the 
unit had committed to the defense of 
San Jose. The survivors were either al- 
ready on their way up Route 5, or slowly 
filtered through I Corps lines and made 
their way northward. Reorganized as an 
understrength infantry division, the 2d 
Tank Division would fight again, but 
Japanese armor would no longer be a 
factor with which Sixth Army would 
have to reckon on Luzon. 29 

San Jose to the East Coast 

After the seizure of San Jose and the 
destruction of the 2d Tank Division as 
an armored force, I Corps, to finish the 
tasks assigned it by General Krueger, 

" Kawai Statement, States, II, 148; G-2 GHQ FEC, 
Interrogations of Japanese Officials on World War II 
(2 vols.) (hereinafter cited as Interrogs), in OCMH 
files, Interrogation of Col Shigeo Kawai, I, 321-23. 
I Corps (and subordinate unit) records indicate that 
the corps had destroyed 193 tanks of the ad Tank 
Division from 9 January through 7 February. Count- 
ing 5 or 6 more destroyed by XIV Corps units, it is 
doubtful that as many as so tanks organic to the 
2d Tank Division were still intact and in Japanese 



still had to move in strength up to the 
Cabanatuan-Rizal line and reconnoiter 
to Baler and Dingalen Bays on the east 
coast. The corps assigned these tasks to 
the 6th Division, which wasted no time 
undertaking them after the fall of 
Mufioz. 30 

The 63d Infantry, on 7 February, cap- 
tured Rizal against scattered opposition 
from Tsuda Detachment stragglers. 31 The 
next day the 20th Infantry, encountering 
few Japanese, secured Bongabon, six 
miles south of Rizal, and cleared the 
road from Rizal through Bongabon to 
Cabanatuan. A combined 20th Infantry- 
6th Reconnaissance Troop patrol next 
pushed over the hills from Bongabon to 
Dingalen Bay along a poor gravel road 
and reached the bay on 1 1 February. 
The following day a 63d Infantry-6th 
Reconnaissance Troop patrol, following 
another road out of Bongabon, reached 
Baler Bay. The patrols found only 
abandoned defenses at each objective 
and left, the security of the bay's shores 
and the roads back to Bongabon to 
Filipino guerrillas. 

In the meantime, the 25th Division 
had taken over from the 6th Division at 
San Jose and had begun patrolling both 
northward up Route 5 and southeast- 
ward along the road to Rizal. The two 
divisions continued patrolling in the 
areas they held until, on 10 February, I 
Corps began realigning forces for opera- 
tions against the Shobu Group in north- 



hands as of 7 February. Other tanks left to the 
Japanese on Luzon were from independent tank 
companies. 

so Sixth Army FO 46, 30 Jan 45; I Corps FO's 8 and 
rj, 31 Jan and 6 Feb 45- 

" The rest of this section derives from: 6th Cav 
Ren Tr Rpt Luzon, pp. 24-28; 20th Inf Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 26-28; 63d Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 13; 63d Inf S-3 Per 
Rpts, 6-14 Feb 45. 



202 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



ern Luzon. Before such operations could 
start, more urgent battles to the south 
had to be brought to successful conclu- 
sions, and the I Corps' right flank units, 
for the time being, would hold the posi- 
tions they had already attained while 
preparing for stiff fights they knew were 
in the offing. 

The Destruction of the Kembu Group 

Sixty miles southwest across the Cen- 
tral Plains from San Jose the 40th Divi- 
sion, fighting against the Kembu Group, 
took about a week longer to secure Sixth 
Army's right and XIV Corps' right rear 
to Krueger's and Griswold's satisfaction 
than I Corps had taken on the left. In 
the Kembu area, the terrain did not per- 
mit the relatively free maneuver I Corps 
had employed to capture San Jose. 
Rather, the fight at the Kembu positions 
continued to be a slug fest against a 
well-entrenched Japanese force holding 
rugged, dominating ground. Progress 
each day was often measured in terms of 
feet. 

The Situation at Clark Field 

By 1 February, when the XIV Corps 
started the 37th Division south toward 
Manila, the 37th and 40th Divisions had 
overrun the Kembu Group OPLR both 
north and south of the Bamban River. 
I (See Map IV.)\ South of the stream the 
129th Infantry, 37th Division, had 
breached the Japanese MLR at Top of 
the World Hill, just west of Fort Stotsen- 
burg. West and southwest Top of the 
World remnants of the Eguchi and Yana- 
gimoto Detachments, combined into a 
single force, held out in rough ground 
in front of the "last-stand" positions oc- 



cupied by the Kembu Group's naval 
units. 

North of the Bamban the 1 60th Infan- 
try, 40th Division, had pushed into the 
Takaya Detachment MLR positions. The 
regiment's left was on high ground over- 
looking the river, its right and center on 
a 1 ,000-foot-high, ill-defined hill mass 
known as Storm King Mountain. Ele- 
ments of the Takaya Detachment still 
maintained MLR defenses on the west 
side of Storm King. Although, further 
north, the 108th Infantry had not yet 
closed with the Takayama Detachment 
MLR, the breach the 160th Infantry had 
effected along the MLR's center and 
right had made untenable the Japanese 
unit's hold. The Takayama Detachment 
was faced with the choice of fighting to 
death in place or making an orderly 
withdrawal into the naval last-stand 
positions. 

The naval defenses were composed of 
five combat sectors, numbered 13 through 
17. The 16th Combat Sector centered 
on high ground two miles west-northwest 
of Top of the World and athwart the 
upper reaches of the Bamban River; the 
ryth lay another mile or so to the west. 
The 15th Combat Sector was north across 
a branch of the Bamban from the 16th 
and nearly two miles beyond the 160th 
Infantry's penetration at Storm King 
Mountain. The 14th and 13th Combat 
Sectors, reading east to west, were north- 
west of the I'yth. Each combat sector 
held dominating ground protected on at 
least two sides by sharp ravines; each 
varied as to area and strength. 

General Tsukada, commanding the 
Kembu Group, still had some 25,000 
men under his control. He was prepared 
to offer protracted resistance, although 
his communications were poor and, with 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



203 



all chance of resupply long gone, his 
food and ammunition could not last for- 
ever. But he was firmly ensconced in 
easily defensible terrain, his defense plan 
was well conceived, and the bulk of his 
positions were mutually supporting. To 
overrun any strongpoint the 40th Divi- 
sion would have to make careful plans 
for the closest co-ordination of air, artil- 
lery, and armor. Once the approaches 
to an objective were cleared, the Japa- 
nese defenders would have to be flushed 
out of hidden foxholes, caves, and bunk- 
ers. To take any piece of dominating 
terrain the Americans would have to de- 
stroy a series of mutually supporting 
strongpoints. The whole process would 
be difficult, costly, time consuming, and 
repetitive but, in General Krueger's 
opinion, would be necessary in order to 
secure the right rear of XIV Corps and 
push the Kembu Group so far back into 
the Zambales Mountains that it would 
be incapable of threatening Clark Field. 

The 40th Division spent the first week 
of February realigning its forces, mop- 
ping up areas already secured, and pa- 
trolling to find good routes of approach 
to strongpoints located by ground and 
aerial observation. The 185th Infantry 
rejoined the division and replaced the 
108th in the north; the 108th, in turn, 
took over the 129th Infantry's positions 
on Top of the World on a February. 82 

It is not known when General Brush, 
the division commander, intended to 
start a general offensive westward, but if 
he had any idea of waiting beyond the 
first week in February he was undoubt- 
edly brought up short on the 6th. That 
day General Krueger instructed XIV 
Corps to have the 40th Division "pro- 

" 40th Div G-3 Per Rpts, 1-7 Feb 45, 40th Div G-g 
Jnl Files, s-8 Feb 45. 



ceed more expeditiously with the de- 
struction" of the Kembu Group, not 
only for the reasons of which the corps 
was already well aware but also because 
the division would soon have to be 
relieved for operations elsewhere. 33 Gris- 
wold relayed these instructions to Brush 
without delay. 

Brush's plan for attack called for the 
185th and 160th Infantry Regiments to 
drive against the Japanese center while 
the 108th Infantry continued the ad- 
vance against the Japanese right where 
the 1 29th Infantry had left off. The divi- 
sion's objective was high ground lying 
about seven miles west of Route 3 and 
extending almost an equal distance 
north to south. 34 Once this terrain had 
been cleared, the 40th Division would 
have overrun the entire Kembu MLR 
and would be poised in front of the naval 
last-stand positions. 

Turning the Kembu Flanks 

Before the divisional attack began, the 
160th Infantry, mopping up at Storm 
King Mountain, became involved in a 
fight that turned into preparation for 
the regiment's part in the main offen- 
sive. 35 The fight focused at McSevney 
Point, a ridge 300 yards long and 75 
yards wide forming a western nose of 

™ Rad, Sixth Army to XIV Corps, WG-85, 6 Feb 45, 
Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 4-6 Feb 45. 

1,4 40th Div FO 11, 6 Feb 45, 108th Inf Jnl File, 
6 Feb 45. 

*" This subsection is based on: 40th Div G-g Per 
Rpts, 6-19 Feb 45; 40th Div G-3 Jnl Files, 6-ig Feb 
45; 160th Inf S-3 Jnl and Jnl Files, 6_i 1 Feb 45; 185th 
Inf Unit Jnl, 6-15 Feb 45; 185th Inf S-a/S-g Jnl, 
6-10 Feb 45; 185th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 7-15 Feb 45; 
108th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 7-19 Feb 45; 108th Inf S-3 
Jnl Files, 7-19 Feb 45; 108th Inf S-2 Per Rpts, 10-19 
Feb 45; Anonymous, 40th Infantry Division (Baton 
Rouge: Army and Navy Publishing Co., 1947), pp. 
113-16. 



204 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Storm King. Here an infantry company 
of the Takaya Detachment, reinforced 
by one 70-mm. howitzer, three 90-mm. 
mortars, ten 50-mni. grenade dischargers, 
and 27 machine guns of various calibers, 
blocked the 160th Infantry's path. 88 The 
Japanese force was holded up in caves, 
bunkers, and foxholes, all well concealed 
by natural camouflage. 

The 160th Infantry's first attack 
against McSevney Point took place on 6 
February, and behind the close support 
of tanks, tank destroyers, and Fifth Air 
Force planes, the regiment cleared most 
of the point by dusk on the 8th. During 
the ensuing night the Japanese launched 
a series of banzai-type counterattacks, 
and it was nearly noon on the gth before 
the 160th Infantry had repulsed the final 
Japanese assault. The next morning, 10 
February, the regiment discovered that 
the last Japanese had withdrawn during 
the night. The affray cost the 160th In- 
fantry about 20 men killed and 125 
wounded, while the Japanese lost around 
225 men killed. 

Although the fight at McSevney Point 
at first appeared to have delayed the 
160th Infantry's participation in the di- 
vision attack — scheduled to begin on the 
8th— the action turned out quite well 
for the 40th Division. First, the capture 
of McSevney Point removed a major ob- 
stacle at the division's center. Second, 
the loss of the point prompted General 
Tsukada to direct the Takaya Detach- 
ment to abandon its portion of the MLR 
and fall back to the last-stand positions. 



"Additional information on the Japanese is from: 
Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 10, Luzon Opns of 
the Kembu Gp, pp. 11- 12; 40th Div G-2 Per Rpts, 
7-g Feb 45, 160th Inf S-g Jnl Files, 9-11 Feb 45; 
SWPA Hist Series, II, 451 . 



The withdrawal split the Kembu MLR, 
and the 40th Division could press on 
into a gap between the Takayama De- 
tachment, on the north, and the com- 
bined Eguchi—Y anagimoto Detachment 
force on the south. The existence of the 
gap also permitted the 185th and 108th 
Infantry Regiments to deal in detail with 
the Kembu Group's left and right. 

On 7 February the 1 85th Infantry had 
started an attack against the Takayama 
MLR, on the Japanese left, its ultimate 
objective Snake Hill North, a height 
from which Japanese fire had harassed 
the 160th Infantry's right flank units 
2,000 yards to the southeast. In three 
days of stiff fighting through thick under- 
growth and over rough, steeply rising 
terrain, the 185th Infantry gained half 
the ground to Snake Hill North. The 
regiment had not yet closed with the 
Japanese MLR in its zone, and opposi- 
tion had come principally from mortars, 
light artillery, and a very few machine 
guns. The most the 185th Infantry 
could show for its operations to the 
morning of 10 February was that it had 
brought its front line abreast of the 
160th s right. 

On the 40th Division left (the Japa- 
nese right) , the 108th Infantry started 
westward from Top of the World on 8 
February, its first objective a north-south 
line of knobs lying 1,500 to 2,000 yards 
west and southwest of the line of depar- 
ture. The hills were honeycombed with 
small bunkers and foxholes; riflemen 
were supported by and in turn protected 
machine gun emplacements; defensive 
weapons included many 20-mm. and 25- 
mm. machine cannon stripped from air- 
craft at Clark Field; and, at least initially, 
the defenders boasted a plentiful supply 
of mortars and mortar ammunition. 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



205 



From 8 through 12 February the 108th 
Infantry fought solely to clear approaches 
to the Japanese hill strongpoints. The 
advance was daily marked by temporary 
gains of terrain that the Japanese ren- 
dered untenable by heavy weapons fire 
or by gains along approaches where the 
American troops spent most of their 
time pinned down by Japanese fire. The 
1 08th Infantry began to make apprecia- 
ble progress only after division artillery 
started to lay support fires dangerously 
close to the front lines and after Cannon 
Company SPM's, 640th Tank Destroyer 
Battalion TD's, and 754th Tank Battal- 
ion mediums laboriously rumbled for- 
ward over rough ground to place direct 
fire on Japanese emplacements. 

By evening on 12 February the 
Eguchi-Yanagimoto Detachment, having 
lost over 500 men killed since the 8th, 
was finished as an effective fighting unit 
and held only one position along the 
Kembu Group's right flank. Hill 7, as 
the position was designated, lay three- 
quarters of a mile westward of the group 
of knobs that the 108th Infantry had 
cleared by the 12th. It took the 108th 
Infantry until afternoon of the 16th to 
clear this last hill. The regiment had 
now turned the right of the Kembu 
MLR, and the shattered remnants of 
the Eguchi-Yanagimoto Detachment 
retreated into the last-stand positions. 

By the time the 108th Infantry had 
turned the right flank, the 185th Infan- 
try had already pushed in the Japanese 
left, and in the center the 160th Infan- 
try had advanced into the naval last- 
stand area. Between 10 and 12 February 
the 185th Infantry had secured Snake 
Hill North against negligible opposition, 
simultaneously taking Hill 810, a little 
over two miles to the northeast, and 



Hill iooo, a mile west of Hill 810. With 
these gains, almost the last positions 
along the left of the Kembu MLR had 
fallen. Continuing forward, the 185th 
Infantry struck toward Hill 1500, lo- 
cated at the northwestern corner of the 
14th Combat Sector area and over a mile 
southwest of Snake Hill North. The 
185th captured Hill 1500 on the 15th, 
an event that, with the 108th Infantry's 
seizure of Hill 7 the next day, marked 
the end of the Kembu Group MLR. 
The two Americans regiments engaged 
on the flanks had lost approximately 
75 men killed and 290 wounded; the 
infantry alone accounted for 680 Japa- 
nese killed during the flank attacks. 

The Fight in the Center 

While the 108th and 185th Infantry 
Regiments had been turning the flanks 
of the Kembu MLR, the 160th Infantry 
had driven forward in the center, start- 
ing its attack on 10 February from a line 
of departure at McSevney Point. 37 The 
i6oth's initial objectives were Snake Hill 
West, Scattered Trees Ridge, and Object 
Hill. The first, grass covered and about 
1,500 feet high, lay a little short of a 
mile west-southwest of McSevney Point 
and at the northern apex of the triangu- 
larly shaped 15th Combat Sector defense 
area. Scattered Trees Ridge formed the 
base of the triangle and ran along the 
north bank of a Bamban River tributary. 
Object Hill, marking the western limits 
of the 15th Combat Sector area, lay 

" This subsection is based primarily on: 40th Div 
G-3 Per Rpts, 10-20 Feb 45; 40th Div G-g Jnl Files, 
10-20 Feb 45; 40th Div G-2 Per Rpts, 14-17 Feb 45; 
160th Inf S-3 Jnl and Jnl Files, 10-ao Feb 45; 
108th Inf S-3 Jnl Files, 10-20 Feb 45. Copies of many 
of the sources used are to be found only in the 108th 
Infantry's Journal Files. 



206 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



about 1,500 yards southwest of Snake 
Hill West, South of the Bamban tribu- 
tary, and between the branch stream 
and the main course of the river, lay 
Sacobia Ridge, along which the 16th 
Combat Sector was dug in. 

By dusk on 10 February the 160th 
Infantry's two forward battalions were 
well up the eastern slopes of Snake Hill 
West and Scattered Trees Ridge but 
were separated by nearly a mile of Japa- 
nese-controlled terrain. Even with the 
close support of tanks, TD's, and SPM's 
the regiment did not clear all Snake Hill 
West until 15 February, although the 
open crest of the hill fell on the 12th. 
The battalion on Snake Hill West then 
turned southwest toward Object Hill, 
and, Scattered Trees Ridge having 
proved an unprofitable route of advance, 
troops on that ridge struck northwest- 
ward toward Object Hill in a converging 
attack. Elements of the 160th Infantry 
reached the crest of Object Hill on 16 
February, but the regiment took until 
the 20th to clear the last Japanese strong- 
points from the hill and its approaches. 
By that time the 15th Combat Sector's 
right, along Scattered Trees Ridge, had 
also collapsed, and American infantry 
had gained a foothold on Sacobia Ridge 
in the 16th Combat Sector area. 

The 160th Infantry's drive into the 
center of the naval last-stand positions 
at Object Hill completed another phase 
of the fight with the Kembu Group. As 
of 20 February, the group's MLR no 
longer existed; positions on the left of 
the last-stand defenses, the 14th Combat 
Sector area, had fallen to the 185th In- 
fantry; the 160th Infantry, attacking into 
the i*jth and 16th Combat Sectors de- 
fenses, was well across the center of the 
last-stand positions. The 160th Infan- 



try's gains in the center, including the 
earlier fight at McSevney Point, had cost 
the regiment roughly 75 men killed and 
330 wounded, while heat exhaustion and 
combat fatigue took an increasingly 
heavy toll. The regiment's 1st Battalion 
had less than 400 effectives and the 2d 
and 3d Battalions were both some 300 
men understrength. 

Whatever the costs, the 40th Division's 
advances to the 20th of February marked 
the end of the Kembu Group as a threat 
to Sixth Army and XIV Corps. Clark 
Field, Route 3, and the army and corps 
right were now secure beyond all shadow 
of doubt. The Kembu Group had de- 
fended its ground well since 24 January, 
when XIV Corps had first gained con- 
tact, and had inflicted nearly 1,500 casu- 
alties upon XIV Corps units — roughly 
285 men killed and 1,180 wounded — but 
had itself lost around 10,000 men killed. 
The 20,000 troops General Tsukada still 
commanded were hardly in good shape. 
Supplies of all kinds were dwindling 
rapidly, morale was cracking, centralized 
control was breaking down. The only 
defenses still intact were those held by 
the naval 13th and lyth Combat Sectors, 
and those had been heavily damaged by 
air and artillery bombardments. Troops 
of the Sixth Army would continue to 
fight the Kembu Group, but after 20 
February operations in the Kembu area 
were essentially mop-ups. 

Epilogue 

XI Corps, not XIV, would be in charge 
of the final mop-up operations in the 
Kembu area. By 20 February XIV Corps 
had its hands full in and around Manila, 
and the supervision of the separate bat- 
tle against the Kembu Group placed an 



PROTECTING XIV CORPS REAR AND FLANKS 



207 



intolerable administrative and opera- 
tional burden on the corps headquarters. 
The XI Corps, on the other hand, had 
nearly completed its initial missions on 
Luzon and, commanding only one and 
one-third divisions when it landed, was 
able to take on the additional burden of 
controlling 40th Division operations. 38 
Under XI Corps direction the 40th 
Division resumed the offensive on 23 
February but was relieved by elements 
of the 43d Division between 28 February 
and 2 March. In its final attacks, the 
40th Division overran the last organized 
resistance in the 13th, 14th, and 16th 
Combat Sectors, losing another 35 men 
killed and 150 wounded. By the time 
the 43d had relieved the 40th Division, 
just one organized Japanese position 
remained, that of the iyth Combat 
Sector.™ 

The 43d Division fought the Kembu 
Group for only ten days, and by the 
time it was relieved by elements of the 
38th Division, beginning 10 March, it 
had overrun the ijth Combat Sector 
and had driven the Japanese back an- 
other three to four miles beyond the 
point at which the 40th Division left 
off. The 43d Division lost 70 men killed 
and 195 wounded in the area, eliminating 
perhaps 2,000 Japanese. 40 

The 38th Division — to which the 
169th Infantry, 43d Division, remained 

38 Sixth Army FO 53, 19 Feb 45, Sixth Army Rpt 
Luzon, I, 1 55; XIV Co rps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 77. See 
also below jch. XVII."| The effective date of transfer of 
corps control was 21 February. 

36 XI Corps G-s Jnl Files, 21 Feb-i Mar 45; 108th 
Inf S-g Jnl Files, 23-28 Feb 45; iGoth Inf S-g Jnl 
Files, 23-25 Feb 45; lSjth lnf S— g Jnl Files, 22-25 Feb 
45; 185th Inf Unit and S-a/S-g Jnls, 23 Feb-i Mar 
45; 43d Div G-2 and G-3 Per Rpts, 23 Feb-i Mar 45. 

40 43d Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 26-30; 169th Inf Rpt 
Luzon, p. 9; iy2d Inf Rpt Luzon, 26 Feb— 10 Mar 45, 
pp. 1-3. 



attached until 22 March 41 — pushed on 
into the untracked, ill-explored, and 
worse-mapped wilderness of the central 
Zambales Range, its progress slowed 
more by supply problems than Japanese 
resistance. In early April the division 
noted that the last vestiges of any con- 
trolled defensive effort had disappeared. 
Unknown to XI Corps General Tsukada, 
on 6 April, had given up and had 
ordered his remaining forces to disperse 
and continue operations, if possible, as 
guerrillas. 42 For the Japanese remnants, 
it was a case of sauve qui pent. Some 
tried to escape to Luzon's west coast, 
whence 38th Division troops were al- 
ready patrolling inland; others tried to 
make their way north through the moun- 
tains, only to be cut down by American 
patrols working southward from Camp 
O'Donnell, The 38th Division had killed 
about 8,000 of the scattering Japanese 
by the time it was relieved by units of 
the 6th Division on 3 May. The losses 
of the 38th totaled approximately 100 
men killed and 500 wounded. 43 

The 6th Division, elements of which 
remained in the Kembu area until 25 
June, limited its operations to patrolling 

u During the period 10-22 March the 169th In- 
fantry and attachments lost an additional 40 men 
killed and 175 wounded, while killing 800 more 
Japanese, The 43d Division's share in the fight 
against the Kembu forces thus cost the division a 
total of 110 men killed and 360 wounded, while it 
had killed perhaps 3,000 Japanese. 

44 SWPA Hist Series II, n. 57, p. 451. 

41 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 47-49, 65-92; i6gth Inf 
Rpt Luzon, p. 9; 149th Inf Rpt Luzon, 7 Mar— 20 Apr 
45, pp. i, 4—20; i52d Inf Rpt Luzon, 3 Mar— 30 Jun 45, 
pp. 1-2. 

On 22 April, during the course of the 38th Divi- 
sion's mopping-up operations, Pfc. William H, 
Thomas of Company B, 149th Infantry, although 
mortally wounded, magnificently helped his platoon 
seize a strong Japanese position. For this action, 
Private Thomas was posthumously awarded the 
Medal of Honor. 



208 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



and setting up trail blocks along Japa- 
nese routes of escape, Troops of the 
38th Division ultimately returned to the 
region and remained there until the end 
of the war. 44 

Insofar as U.S. forces were concerned, 
the mop-up period under XI Corps con- 
trol was even more costly than had been 
the XIV Corps' offensive period. From 
21 February to the end of June the 



44 6th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 78—79; 1st Inf S— 3 Opns 
Rpt, 25 Jun 45; 10th I&H Opnl Monograph, The 
Luzon Mop-Up Operation, p. 5a. The 6th Division 
lost only one man killed and two wounded in the 
Kembu area between 3 May and 35 June. 



various elements of XI Corps committed 
to action against the Kembu Group lost 
approximately 550 men killed and 2,200 
wounded. The Kembu Group, during 
the same period, lost 12,500 killed or 
dead from starvation and disease. By 
the end of the war the original 30,000 
troops of the Kembu Group were 
reduced to approximately 1,500 sorry 
survivors, about 1,000 of them Army 
personnel. Another 500 had already 
been taken prisoner. 45 

"Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 125, Philippine 
Area Naval Opns, pt. IV, p. ag; No. io, Luzon Opns 
of the Kembu Gp, pp. 28-30. 



PART FOUR 



SECURING THE 
MANILA BAY AREA 



CHAPTER XII 



Manila: The Approach March 



By the last week of January, Sixth 
Army had completed the first phase of 
the Luzon Campaign. I Corps controlled 
the Routes 3—1 1 junction and positions 
from which to attack toward San Jose; 
XIV Corps was pushing the Kembu 
Group back from Clark Field. (See Map 
///.I The army had secured its base 
area, carefully provided against the 
threat of counterattack from the north 
and east, and projected strength into 
position to protect XIV Corps' rear and 
lines of communication. General 
Krueger thus felt free to devote more 
attention to the capture of the Manila- 
Manila Bay area, the most important 
single strategic objective of the cam- 
paign. On 26 January he had tackled 
the very practical problem of actually 
getting troops into the city of Manila. 
On that date he had directed XIV Corps 
to send forces south as far as the Pam- 
panga River, twenty-five miles below 
Clark Field and about an equal distance 
north of Manila. 1 

XIV Corps' Drive South 
Moving Out 

XIV Corps' objective along the Pam- 
panga River was the Route 3 and Manila 
Railroad crossing at Calumpit, a flat 

1 Sixth Army FO 45, 26 Jan 45, Sixth Army Rpt 
Luzon, I, 147—48. 



land defile through which passed the 
only highway and rail connections pro- 
viding direct access to Manila from the 
western side of the Central Plains. To 
the northeast of Calumpit lies the for- 
midable Candaba Swamp, passable only 
to light vehicles even in dry weather; to 
the south and west are virtually impassa- 
ble swamplands, fish ponds, and marshy 
river deltas forming the northern shore 
of Manila Bay. Although the Japanese 
had destroyed the bridges at Calumpit, 2 
XIV Corps had to secure the crossing 
sites before the Japanese took advantage 
of the natural defense opportunities 
afforded by the deep, unfordable Pam- 
panga to block the western approach to 
Manila. XIV Corps intelligence on 26 
January estimated that the Japanese had 
few if any defenses along Route 3 at 
least as far south as Calumpit. If this 
were so, the corps might be able to 
secure the defile before the Japanese 



! The southern group of MacArthur's forces, with- 
drawing north across the Pampanga on j January 
194a, blew the two Calumpit bridges. See Morton, 
Fall of the Philippines, pp. 209-10. The Japanese 
replaced the bridges in 1943, employing in part 
bridging material left in Manila. The bridges were 
intact as late as 27 December 1944, but the Japanese 
blew them late in January, leaving two sets of 
bridges in the water, one on top of the other. Com- 
ments by Mr. James J. Halsema, an American civilian 
who was interned by the Japanese during the war. 
Hereinafter cited as Halsema Comments, these re- 
marks were forwarded to the author during March 
1957- 



212 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



could change their minds about its 
defense. 

On 27 January the 37th Reconnais- 
sance Troop and the 148th Infantry, 
37th Division, started south from Clark 
Field toward Calumpit, their first objec- 
tive the Route 3 and railroad bridges 
over the San Fernando River at San 
Fernando, thirteen miles below Clark 
Field at the junction of Route 3 with 
Route 7 to Bataan. With Filipino guer- 
rillas' aid, the 37th Division's units se- 
cured both bridges intact on 28 Janu- 
ary. 3 By afternoon on the 30th, after a 
minor skirmish or two with small groups 
of Japanese along Route 3 south from 
San Fernando, 37th Division patrols 
were within a mile of Calumpit and the 
Pampanga River. 4 

When on the afternoon of 30 January 
General MacArthur made a personal re- 
connaissance south along Route 3 from 
San Fernando, the pace of the advance 
impressed him as being much too lei- 
surely, and upon his return northward 
he informed General Krueger that the 
37th Division units moving on Calumpit 
had demonstrated "a noticeable lack of 
drive and aggressive initiative. . . ." 3 
There was no question that the advance 
south from San Fernando was slow, de- 
liberate, and cautious, but this was by 
design on the part of Generals Griswold 
and Beightler. With only the 148th 
Infantry and the 37th Reconnaissance 



* These bridges had also been knocked out by 
MacArthur's forces in 1942, but had been repaired 
by the Japanese. 

* The foregoing operational material is from: 37th 
Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 31-33; 148th Inf Rpt Luzon, 
p. 4; 37th Ren Tr Rpt Luzon, 8 Jan-g Feb 45, 
pp. 5-6. 

1 Rad, Krueger to Griswold (quoting MacArthur), 
WL-944, 30 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 
29-3 1 J an 45- 



Troop available for the advance south 
from Clark Field, the corps and division 
commanders were unwilling to go too 
far too fast, for they had little informa- 
tion on Japanese deployment south of 
the Pampanga. Moreover, they knew 
that the Calumpit bridges were out and 
that no new crossing could be con- 
structed on the 30th. Griswold, accord- 
ingly, had directed Beightler not to push 
his infantry far south of the Pampanga 
until supporting tanks and artillery 
could also cross. 6 

Be that as it may, the impact of Mac- 
Arthur's impressions went to XIV Corps, 
whence Griswold passed it on to Beight- 
ler, and so on down to the 148th Infantry, 
which immediately began preparations 
to move across the Pampanga. 7 Mac- 
Arthur's reactions also undoubtedly had 
considerable influence in prompting 
Krueger, late on the 30th, to direct XIV 
Corps to speed its drive toward Manila, 
orders issued simultaneously with those 
directing I Corps to seize San Jose. 8 
After securing crossings over the Pam- 
panga, Krueger's orders read, XIV Corps 
would hurry its right southeast another 
six miles from Calumpit to Malolos. On 
the left the 1st Cavalry Division, now 
attached to XIV Corps and assembling 
west of Cabanatuan, would start south 
along Route 5 in concert with the 37th 
Division's renewed drive down Route 3.® 
Krueger expected the two divisions to 
establish contact at Plaridel, where, 



'Beightler Comments, 18 Mar 57. 

T Rad, Krueger to Griswold, WL-944, 30 Jan 45; 
Entries i, 5, and 23, XIV Corps G-3 JnJ, 31 Jan 45; 
Telecons, G-3 XIV Corps and G-3 37th Div, 0140 
and 0855 31 Jan 45, in XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File, 31 
Jan 45. 

"Sixth Army FO 46, 30 Jan 45; see also above, 
ch. XI. 

* Sixth Army FO 46, 30 Jan 45. 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



213 




The Bridges at Calumpit. (Prewar photograph) 



seven miles east of Calu mpit, Rout e 5 
crossed the Angat River. | {Map F)"| 

Krueger's new orders limited, the XIV 
Corps advance to the Malolos-Plaridel 
line. Although he anticipated that the 
I Corps attack against San Jose would be 
well along by 1 February — the day the 
1st Cavalry Division was to start south 
from Cabanatuan — Krueger was as yet 
unwilling to discount the possibility of 
Japanese counterattack from the San 
Jose area. He also had reason to believe 
that elements of the 2d Tank Division 
had not yet moved north through Caban- 
atuan and might be in position to fall 
upon the flank of the 1st Cavalry Divi- 
sion. Moreover, as the 1st Cavalry Divi- 
sion approached Plaridel, its left would 
become exposed to counterattack from 



elements of the Shimbu Group, a danger 
that Krueger believed would increase as 
the cavalry division moved south beyond 
Plaridel. In brief, Krueger was unwill- 
ing to launch an all-out drive to Manila 
until he had more information on the 
nature and extent of the potential 
threats to the XIV Corps left. 10 That no 
threats actually existed made no differ- 
ence — Krueger was basing his plans upon 
his estimates of Japanese capabilities. 

On 31 January, as the 148th Infantry 
crossed the Pampanga, Beightler relieved 
the 145th Infantry at Clark Field and 
started it south along Route 3. Without 
waiting for the 145th to catch up, the 
148th sped rapidly down Route 3 

"Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 31—32; Sixth Army 
FO 46, 30 Jan 45. 



214 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Plaridet. Bridges (Prewar) 



through an area becoming more and 
more densely populated. The regiment 
secured Malolos against minor opposi- 
tion on 1 February and on the next 
day sent patrols south another eleven 
miles to Marilao, found void of Japa- 
nese. On the same day one battalion 
worked east from Calumpit toward Plari- 
dcl along the south bank of the Quingua 
and Angat Rivers. At Plaridel one of 
Shimbu Group's many provisional in- 
fantry battalions, about 500 men strong, 
in a short but bitter stand held up the 
i48th's battalion until noon. Then the 
American unit marched on through 
Plaridel and about 1700 established con- 
tact with elements of the 1st Cavalry 
Division near destroyed bridges that had 
once taken Route 5 and the Manila 



Railroad across the unfordable Angat. 11 
The 1st Cavalry Division's drive to- 
ward Manila had begun just after igoo 
on 31 January, when a small force from 
the division started toward Cabanatuan 
from the assembly area west of that 
town. In the lead were elements of the 
1st Cavalry Brigade. 
The World War II brigaded structure 



" 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 34-36; 148th Inf Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 4—5; 145th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 15-16; 
148th Inf S-g Per Rpts, 31 Jan-3 Feb 45. The records 
indicate that the Shimbu Group battalion may have 
been caught by surprise, or at least in the process of 
trying to withdraw southeast, but General Beightler, 
in Beightler Comments, 18 March 57, states that 
the unit was in well-prepared defensive positions. 
The Angat and Quingua arc two names for different 
sections of the same stream that, flowing westward, 
joins the delta of the Pampanga just south of 
Calumpit. 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



215 



of Maj. Gen. Verne D. Mudge's dis- 
mounted ist Cavalry Division differed 
greatly from that of the triangular in- 
fantry division of the period. 12 Instead 
of three infantry regiments the ist Cav- 
alry Division had four cavalry regiments 
— the 5th and 12th in the 1st Cavalry 
Brigade, the 7th and 8th in the 2d Cav- 
alry Brigade, Each regiment had two 
cavalry squadrons, each smaller than an 
infantry battalion, as opposed to the 
three battalions of an infantry regiment. 
Each cavalry regiment contained a weap- 
ons troop armed with 81-mm. mortars, 
.30-caliber and .50-caliber machine guns, 
and bazookas, but there was no heavy 
weapons troop within each squadron. 
The cavalry regiments lacked the anti- 
tank and cannon companies of an infan- 
try regiment. 1st Cavalry Division 
Artillery was composed of one 75-mm. 
howitzer battalion, three 105 mm. how- 
itzer battalions, and, for obvious reasons, 
an attached 155-mm. howitzer battalion. 
Reinforcing combat and service attach- 
ments brought the division's strength up 
to nearly 15,000 men, somewhat less than 
the strength of the reinforced 37th Divi- 
sion at the same time. On paper, each 
of the four cavalry regiments numbered 
1,750 men — in contrast to the 3,000-odd 
of an infantry regiment — but none of 
the 1st Cavalry Division's regiments was 
up to strength. The division had re- 
ceived few replacements since entering 
combat on Leyte in October, and it had 
come to Luzon after very little rest from 
its arduous campaign through Leyte's 
mountains. 

For the drive to Manila, General 
Mudge organized two reinforced motor- 

12 After World War II the 1st Cavalry Division was 
triangularized and reorganized as an infantry divi- 
sion, hut kept its name. 



ized squadrons that soon became known 
as Flying Columns. Each included a 
cavalry squadron, a medium tank com- 
pany, a 105-111111. howitzer battery, other 
supporting elements, and sufficient vehi- 
cles to lift all troops. Mudge placed the 
two Flying Columns under Brig. Gen. 
William C. Chase, commander of the 
1st Cavalry Brigade. Chase's groupment 
also included the Provisional Reconnais- 
sance Squadron, which contained the 
division's own 302d Reconnaissance 
Troop and the headquarters and light 
tank companies of the attached 44th 
Tank Battalion. 13 

On the morning of 1 February the 2d 
Squadron, 5th Cavalry, nucleus of one 
of the Flying Columns, forded the broad 
Pampanga north of Cabanatuan and by 
1300 had established firm contact with 
a force of some 250 Japanese infantry- 
men supported by two or three 75-mm. 
artillery pieces. 14 The Japanese group 
held up the 2d Squadron, 5th Cavalry, 
until the 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry (not 
part of a Flying Column), forded the 
Pampanga south of Cabanatuan and 
fought its wa y into town against the 
Japanese rear. \(See Map 5.) | By dusk the 
two units had cleared most of Cabana- 
tuan, and other elements of the 5th 
Cavalry finished mopping up the next 

" 1 st Cav Div FO's 22 and 23, 8 and 31 J an 455 
1st Cav Div Rpt Luzon, Org, pp. 1-2; Ltr, CG 1st 
Cav Div to Comdrs of Units and Separate Orgs, sub: 
Org of Reinforced Motorized Squadron, 31 Jan 45, 
1st Cav Div FO File. 

" The general sources for the rest of this subsection 
are: 1st Cav Div Rpt Luzon, Narrative, pp. 1-3; 
Maj. Bertram C. Wright, The ist Cavalry Division 
in World War II (Tokyo: Toppan Printing Co., 
Ltd., 1947), pp. 126-28; 1st Cav Div G-3 Per Rpts, 
1-3 Feb 45; 1st Cav Brig S-g Per Rpts, 1-3 Feb 45; 
5th Cav Rpt Luzon, pp. B-.53 5th Cav $-3 Per Rpts, 
1-3 Feb 45; 8th Cav Rpt Luzon, Manila Phase, p. 1; 
3oad Ren Tr Rpt Luzon, pp. 8-1 b; 44th Tank Bn 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 5-7. 



216 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



day. On 3 February the 12 th Cavalry, 
responsible for protecting the division's 
long line of communications down 
Route 5, took over in the Cabanatuan 
region as all troops of the 5th and 8th 
Cavalry Regiments moved south behind 
the Flying Columns. 

About the same time that 2d Squad- 
ron, 5th Cavalry, started into Cabanatuan 
from the north, the Provisional Recon- 
naissance Squadron forded the Pampanga 
about five miles south of town and by 
1330 on 1 February was at Gapan, where, 
thirteen miles below Cabanatuan, Route 
5 crosses the Penaranda River. So far, 
the provisional unit had encountered 
no opposition as it sped south across hot, 
baked farm land, but Japanese rifle fire 
from the south bank of the Penaranda 
killed Lt. Col. Tom H. Ross, commander 
of the Provisional Reconnaissance Squad- 
ron and the 44th Tank Battalion, as he 
led a patrol onto the Route 5 bridge at 
Gapan, Capt. Don H. Walton, com- 
manding the 302d Reconnaissance 
Troop, immediately assumed control of 
the men at the Gapan bridge and, lead- 
ing a dash across the span, probably 
forestalled its destruction. Walton's 
force, together with Troop G, 8th Cav- 
alry, which arrived from the vicinity of 
Cabanatuan before dark, set up defensive 
perimeters to hold the Gapan bridge for 
the Flying Columns. 

The main body of the leading Flying 
Column, built around the 2d Squadron, 
8th Cavalry, passed through Gapan dur- 
ing the night of 1-2 February and by 
0900 on the 2d was moving into Sabang, 
on the Angat River thirty-five miles 
south of Gapan and seven miles north- 
east of Plaridel. 15 The column, after 

10 According to the 1st Cavalry Division G-g Peri- 
odic Report for 1 February, as well as the 8th Cav- 



establishing contact with the 37th Divi- 
sion, made no attempt to cross the Angat 
at Plaridel — the bridges were down and 
the area south of the Angat in the Plari- 
del region was in the 37th Division's 
zone. Accordingly, the Flying Column 
forded the Angat about five miles north 
of Plaridel in the vicinity of Baliuag, 
where, three years earlier, elements of 
MacArthur's withdrawing forces had de- 
layed Japanese forces attempting to 
reach the Calumpit bridges along the 
Angat River bank roads through Plari- 
del. 1 " The Flying Column's somewhat 
ticklish fording job — the river was wide, 
although not too deep at Baliuag— was 
accomplished as crowds of Filipinos 
cheered the cavalrymen on. To neither 
the 37th nor 1st Cavalry Divisions had 
the Japanese offered serious resistance 
along the natural defense line of the 
unbridged Angat. 

While the 2d Squadron, 8th Cavalry, 
was busy near Baliuag, the other Flying 
Column had reached Sabang and, ford- 
ing the Angat there, struck east through 
gently rising farm land along Route 65 
toward Norzagaray, thirteen miles dis- 
tant. The aim of this maneuver was to 
ascertain if Shimbu Group units be- 
lieved to be holding high ground east 
and southeast of Norzagaray had any 
intentions of sallying forth to fall on the 



airy Regiment, 2d Cavalry Brigade, and division 
journals for the day, Troop G had reached Sabang 
on 1 February, From the time and distance factors 
involved — especially with a return to Gapan for the 
night — this seems impossible. From internal evi- 
dence in the journals it is obvious that as the result 
of garbled radio messages Gapan and Sabang were 
confused in more than one instance on both 1 and 
a February. 

" See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, pp. 206-08. 
Both Cabanatuan and Gapan had also been scenes 
of minor delaying actions during MacArthur's with- 
drawal; see Morton, op. cit., p. 183. 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



217 



left flank of the ist Cavalry Division. 
If the Flying Column met strong opposi- 
tion, or if the Japanese attacked it, the 
ist Cavalry Division might have to halt 
its advance toward Manila until it could 
bring up additional strength. If no seri- 
ous threat developed, the 5th Cavalry's 
group would swing back southeast from 
Norzagaray and follow the 8th Cavalry's 
Flying Column across the Santa Maria 
River at Santa Maria, ten miles southeast 
of Baliuag. At dusk on 2 February 
patrols of the 8th Cavalry were approach- 
ing Santa Maria, having followed cir- 
cuitous, third-class roads from Baliuag in 
order to keep out of the 37th Division's 
zone. 

The Dash Into Manila 

By evening of 2 February, XIV Corps 
had progressed well beyond the Malolos- 
Plaridel line that General Krueger, on 
30 January, had named as the corps 
objective. The 1st Cavalry Division, on 
the left, had found no more signs of sig- 
nificant resistance than had the 37th 
Infantry Division on the right, and the 
corps had found no indications that 
Shimbu Group intended to mount a 
counterattack. Opposition had been tac- 
tically unimportant, and for the most 
part the few organized groups of Japa- 
nese XIV Corps had found had appeared 
surprised and unprepared. 

This favorable situation along the 
XIV Corps front and left, together with 
the progress made by I Corps through 
2 February and the success of XI Corps 
and 1 1 th Airborne Division landings on 
Luzon's west coast on 29 and 3 1 January, 
respectively, prompted Krueger, late on 
the 2d, to direct Griswold to drive on to 
Manila with all possible speed. In addi- 



tion to securing the capital city, XIV 
Corps was to advance beyond the city 
to a line extending from the Cavite 
naval base area, on Manila Bay south 
of the city, northeast some twenty -five 
miles and then north another ten miles. 
This line was drawn so as to include 
almost the entire Manila metropolitan 
region within XIV Corps' zone of 
responsibility. 17 

On the basis of Krueger's new orders, 
Griswold established an intermediate 
corps objective line along the north bank 
of the Pasig River, which flows east to 
west through the center of Manila. At 
this time the XIV Corps commander 
expected the 37th Division to reach the 
city first and make the main effort to 
clear it. He so drew the boundary be- 
tween the 37th Infantry and the 1st Cav- 
alry Divisions that all Manila proper, as 
well as its most direct approaches from 
the north, -lay well within the 37th's 
zone. The cavalry division would have 
to move on the city via secondary roads 
coming in from the northeast and, theo- 
retically at least, would be barred from 
entering Manila even should its Flying 
Columns reach the city first. 18 



" Sixth Army FO 47, 2 Feb 45, Sixth Army Rpt 
Luzon, I, 149. 

'» XIV Corps FO 5, 3 Feb 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl 
File Luzon, 31 Jan-a Feb 45. Although dated 3 
February, this field order actually started going out 
to subordinate units by radio and telephone before 
midnight on the 2d. General Beightler, in Beightler 
Comments, 18 March 57, took exception to the rea- 
soning in the last sentence of this paragraph, point- 
ing out that the new boundary left the only intact 
bridge on the northern and northeastern approaches 
to Manila in the 1st Cavalry Division's zone, and that 
the 1st Cavalry Division therefore could hardly help 
entering Manila first. On the other hand, General 
Griswold could not have known that the Japanese 
would leave the bridge intact for the 1st Cavalry 
Division. 



218 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



On 3 February the 37th Division's van 
unit, the 2d Battalion of the 148th In- 
fantry, was delayed at a number of un- 
bridged, unfordable, tidal streams, and 
also had to deploy three or four times to 
disperse small groups of Japanese. At 
1930 on 3 February the main body of 
the battalion was less than two miles 
south of Marilao, which its patrols had 
reached the previous day. 19 In a race for 
Manila, the 148th was at a decided dis- 
advantage. With most of the bridges 
over unfordable streams along Route 3 
down or severely damaged, the regiment 
had to ferry its supporting artillery and 
tanks across streams or wait until engi- 
neers could construct bridges across the 
rivers. 20 Either course involved consid- 
erably more delay than that encountered 
by the 1st Cavalry Division, which had 
been able to seize intact some important 
bridges and had found relatively easy 
fords over unbridged streams. 

Well aware that the 37th Division was 
moving on Manila, the 1st Cavalry Divi- 
sion's Flying Columns, determined to 
beat the infantry into the city "wasted" 
little time sleeping during the night of 
2-3 February. 21 A small Japanese defense 
force held up the 5th Cavalry's Flying 
Column along the Sabang-Norzagaray 
road before midnight on 2 February, 
but the column was under way again 



" 148th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 4-5; 148th Inf S-3 Per 
Rpts, 3—4 Feb 45. 

w BeightlerComments, i8Mar57. General Beightler 
stated that Griswold stilt did not want the 37th Divi- 
sion's infantry to get very far beyond its supporting 
arms. 

31 Information on ist Cavalry Division operations 
in this subsection is based primarily upon the rele- 
vant portions of the narrative sources cited in note 
14 above. The following were also consulted: 1st 
Cav Brig Jnl, 3-4 Feb 45; 1st Cav Div G-3 Jnl, 3-4 
Feb 45; 5th Cav S-2/S— g Jnl, 3 Feb 45; 8th Cav 
S-a/S-3 Jnl, 3-4 Feb 45. 



at 0430 on the 3d when, as the moon 
rose, vehicle drivers could at least 
locate the shoulders of the gravel road. 
By dawn the Flying Column had found 
Norzagaray in the hands of Filipino guer- 
rillas, and had then swung back south- 
west toward Santa Maria, almost ten 
miles away. Slowed as it forded bridge- 
less streams, the 5th Cavalry's motorized 
column was not across the Santa Maria 
River until 1500. Once across that 
stream, the column raced east along 
rough, gravel-paved Route 64 and quick- 
ly reached the Routes 64-52 junction, 
eight miles from Santa Maria, 22 Then 
the motorized squadron turned south 
along Route 52 and, moving at speeds 
up to fifty miles an hour, 23 endeavored 
to catch up with the 8th Cavalry's Flying 
Column, an hour ahead and through 
Talipapa, ten miles south of the Routes 
64-52 junction. 

At a minor road junction on flat, open 
ground near Talipapa, four Japanese 
trucks loaded with troops and supplies 
nosed out into Route 52 from the east 
just as the 2d Squadron, 5th Cavalry, 
arrived from the north. Troops aboard 
the cavalry's leading vehicles waved the 
Japanese to a halt and, momentarily 
stupefied, the Japanese drivers complied. 
As each of the 5th Cavalry's vehicles 



,s The 5th Cavalry could have reached this junction 
by coming southeast and south out of Norzagaray 
along a third-class road. However, such a route had 
been considered too risky because it was believed 
that strong Japanese forces held another junction 
some five miles north of the Routes 64-52 junction. 

sa The author, who went over the stretch of Route 
5E in April 1957, when part of it had been paved, 
could only conclude that anyone who drove fifty 
miles an hour along the road in 1945, when it was 
almost all gravel at least to Novaliches, must have 
taken leave of his senses or else had abandoned his 
life to the hands of St. Christopher. 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



219 





1ST 



i 

Tuliahan Bridge (1953) 



came within range of the Japanese group, 
the cavalrymen fired with all the weap- 
ons they could bring to bear, and con- 
tinued shooting until they had passed 
on southward out of range. Within sec- 
onds the Flying Column's men had set 
afire four Japanese trucks and had killed 
at least 25 Japanese. The remaining 
Japanese, recovering their wits suffi- 
ciently to flee, scattered in all directions. 
Five miles from the nearest water that 
would float even a PT, the 5 th Cavalry 
had executed the classic naval maneuver 
of crossing the T- 



A few moments later, the 5th Cavalry's 
force caught up with General Chase's 
command group. The 5th was now less 
than half an hour behind the 8th 
Cavalry's Flying Column. 

Delayed at fords and slowed as it 
deployed to disperse a few small groups 
of Japanese, the 8th Cavalry's group- 
ment had not crossed the Santa Maria 
River until noon on the 3d. East of the 
river, two Japanese outposts, attempting 
to block Route 64, again slowed the col- 
umn. The column then broke through 
light opposition at the Routes 64-52 



220 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



junction and started into Novaliches, 
seven miles to the south, about 1630. 
Just south of Novaliches the Japanese 
had prepared demolitions to blow a 
stone-arch bridge over the Tuliahan 
River, and they defended the bridge by 
fire from the south bank. Despite this 
fire, Lt. (jg) James P. Sutton (USNR), 
from a Seventh Fleet bomb disposal unit 
attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, 
dashed onto the bridge to cut a burning 
fuze leading to a large charge of dyna- 
mite. Sutton then proceeded to heave 
some mines over the side of the bridge 
into the gorge through which ran the 
Tuliahan. 24 

Without Lieutenant Sutton's quick 
action, the 1st Cavalry Division's Flying 
Columns would have been delayed at 
least twenty-four hours until engineers 
could have brought forward heavy equip- 
ment to build a ford across the steep- 
banked, deep Tuliahan gorge. As it was, 
the 8th Cavalry's motorized force pushed 
on against very light opposition and 
secured Talipapa about 1800, Half an 
hour later the Flying Column reached 
Grace Park, a suburban development 
about a mile north of the Manila city 
limits. 

Now twelve hours ahead of the nearest 
37th Division units, the 8th Cavalry's 
group had reached the western limits of 
the 1st Cavalry Division's zone. Gris- 



14 For a combination of this action and a later 
mine-clearing exploit in Manila, Sutton was awarded 
the Army's Distinguished Service Cross. Although 
a naval officer, Sutton spent almost his entire overseas 
tour attached to Army units and his wartime decora- 
tions — the DSC, a Silver Star, and two Purple Hearts 
— were all awarded by the Army. After the war, 
Sutton served in the U.S. House of Representatives 
as a Congressman from Tennessee. Interview, author 
with Sutton, 24 June 1953, copy of interview notes in 
OCMH files. 



wold had known since noon that the 
cavalrymen were going to arrive at Ma- 
nila before the infantry, and he gave the 
1st Cavalry Division permission to enter 
the city. Later in the day, anticipating 
that if he did not take some further ac- 
tion the two divisions might inadvert- 
ently start shooting at each other, the 
corps commander moved the division 
boundary westward. The 37th Division 
got a narrow, thickly populated, partially 
industrialized strip along the bay front; 
the rest of Manila went to the 1st Cavalry 
Division. 25 

The 8th Cavalry's Flying Column met 
scattered resistance in the Grace Park 
area, but with tanks in the van firing 
on all positions suspected of harboring 
Japanese, the column continued forward 
and crossed the city limits about 1900. 28 
General Chase, in contact by radio, di- 
rected the Flying Column to speed on 
into Manila. Guided by guerrillas, the 
force followed city streets and swept past 
hidden Japanese riflemen who sniped 
away at the column and, about 1930, 
drew up at the gates of Santo Tomas 
University. Within the walls and held 
under close guard by the Japanese Army, 

* Rads, XIV Corps to ist Cav Div and 37th Inf Div, 
1225 and aioo 3 Feb 45, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File 
Luzon, 3~4 Feb 45; Amended Version, 2000 3 Feb 45, 
XIV Corps FO 5, 3 Feb 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File 
Luzon, 31 Jan-2 Feb 45. 

™The exact time the squadron crossed the city 
limits is highly debatable, for the division's records 
give times running from 1730 to 1945. Most journal 
entries agreed that it was about 1830 when the squad- 
ron reached Grace Park and between 1930 and 1945 
when the van units reached Santo Tomas University, 
well within the city. The question is further compli- 
cated by the difficulty of determining the exact loca- 
tions of the city limits, for the 8th Cavalry found no 
defining signs and the Japanese, during the war, had 
moved the city boundaries to include some of the 
prewar suburbs. Thus the 8th Cavalry may well have 
crossed the city limits as defined by the Japanese 
when it reached Grace Park- 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



221 



were almost 4,000 American and Allied 
civilian internees who were running 
dangerously low on food and medical 
supplies. 

The Approach From the South 

By evening on 3 February the Japa- 
nese defenders of Manila— and as yet 
the Sixth Army had little information 
concerning the nature of the city's de- 
fenses — were about to be squeezed be- 
tween the two arms of a pincers. As the 
37th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions 
of Sixth Army were closing in from the 
north, the 11th Airborne Division of 
General Eichelberger's Eighth Army was 
approaching the capital from the south. 

The Planning Background 

Plans for the employment of the 1 1 th 
Airborne Division on Luzon had under- 
gone many changes. At one time the 
division, commanded by Maj. Gen. 
Joseph M. Swing, had been prepared to 
drop in the Central Plains in front of 
Sixth Army forces driving south from 
Lingayen Gulf. GHQ SWPA had aban- 
doned this plan when, as the Lingayen 
target date approached, the Allied Air 
Forces reported it would have neither 
sufficient airfields nor transport planes to 
lift the entire division at the time its 
employment would be most meaning- 
ful. 27 Next, MacArthur's headquarters 
made plans to use the division in a series 
of minor, diversionary operations along 
the southern and southwestern coasts of 
Luzon, ultimately narrowing the series 
to two RCT-sized landings on the south 
coast. But the employment of highly 



Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 7, 10. 



specialized troops for minor operations 
seemed wasteful and would tend to cre- 
ate almost insoluble problems of supply, 
command, and administration. Even two 
landings, one at Nasugbu on the south- 
west coast 45 miles from Manila and the 
other at Tayabas Bay, 75 miles east of 
Nasugbu, produced one major problem. 
To achieve desired results and to assure 
that the Japanese would not destroy the 
two RCT's in sequence, the landings 
would have to take place simultaneous- 
ly. 28 The Allied Naval Forces, however, 
could not provide sufficient escorts and 
fire support vessels for two simultaneous 
landings. If, on the other hand, the 1 ith 
Airborne Division made a single assault 
at Nasugbu, the Allied Naval Forces 
could make both fire support ships and 
escorts available. The Navy could solve 
the support problems even more easily 
if the airborne units landed at Nasugbu 
shortly after XI Corps went ashore on 
Luzon's west coast north of Bataan, for 



™ GHQ SWPA, Musketeer I, 10 Jul 44; GHQ 
SWPA Staff Study Mike IV (Nasugbu-Balayan), 7 
Nov 44, OPD File ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43), Sec - 
8-G; GHQ SWPA Staff Study Mike VI (Batangas- 
Tayabas Provinces), Ed. No. 1, a Jan 45; GHQ SWPA 
OI 86, 1 1 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 1 1 Jan 45; GHQ 
SWPA OI 87, 14 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 14 Jan 45; 
Memo, Chief Strategy Sec OPD for Chief Strategy 
and Policy Gp OPD, sub: Opn Mike Six, 13 Jan 45, 
atchd to OPD copy of GHQ SWPA Staff Study Mikf. 
VI. During the course of planning for two RCT land- 
ings, Eighth Army suggested substituting Balayan 
Bay, fifteen miles southeast of Nasugbu, for Tayabas 
Bay, returning to the GHQ SWPA concept of Mikf 
IV, 7 November 1944- The planners found that the 
Balayan Bay landing would make little tactical sense 
when they learned that the only practical route 
inland from that bay led directly to the Nasugbu 
area, where a landing was to be made anyway. Gen- 
eral Eichclbergcr stated that he had been opposed to 
the two separate landings idea from the beginning 
because he felt that the two small RCT's of the 11th 
Airborne Division would be chewed up in short 
order. Eichdberger Comments, 21 Jan 57. 



222 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



many of the same support vessels could 
participate in both operations. 29 

A single landing at Nasugbu promised 
to produce other desirable results. For 
one, it would tend to pin Japanese forces 
in southern Luzon, preventing them 
from redeploying northward to oppose 
Sixth Army's drive to Manila, For an- 
other, from presumably good beaches at 
Nasugbu the iith Airborne Division 
could drive toward Manila, fifty-five 
miles distant, along an excellent road. 
Upon reaching the shores of Laguna de 
Bay, a large fresh-water lake lying south- 
east of Manila and separated from 
Manila Bay by the narrow Hagonoy 
Isthmus, the division could cut the main 
southern routes of reinforcement and 
withdrawal to and from the capital. 
Again, the Nasugbu beaches might prove 
an excellent place to land the 41st In- 
fantry Division, a GHQ Reserve unit that 
was scheduled to move to Luzon to rein- 
force Sixth Army. Finally, the 11th Air- 
borne Division could easily secure the 
Nasugbu beachhead against Japanese 
counterattack, since all the approaches 
to it ran through narrow passes in rug- 
ged hill country. No other landing 
points in southern Luzon combined the 
obvious advantages of Nasugbu Bay. 

On 20 January, having weighed all 
the pros and cons, General Eichelberger 
recommended to General Mac Arthur 



* GHQ SWPA O.I 8G, 1 1 Jan 45; Rad, CTF 77 to 
C I F 78, 0225 18 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File 
Luzon, 17-18 Jan 45; Memo, ACofS G-3 Eighth Army 
for CofS Eighth Army, 19 Jan 45; Memo, Asst ACofS 
G-3 Eighth Army for ACofS G-3 Eighth Army, sub: 
Plan for Mike VI Opn, 21 Jan 45; Memo, Asst ACofS 
G-3 Eighth Army for ACofS G-g Eighth Army, sub: 
Topics Discussed at Conference . . . , 22 Jan 45. Last 
three in Eighth Army G-3 Jnl File Mikf. VI Opn, 
4-25 Jan 45. 



that the 11th Airborne Division make a 
single landing at Nasugbu Bay. The 
Eighth Army's commander intended to 
send the division's two glider-infantry 
RCT's ashore in an amphibious assault 
and then push them inland about twenty 
miles along Route 17 to Tagaytay Ridge 
where the highway, having come east 
across steadily rising ground, turns sharp- 
ly north and runs gradually down hill 
to Manila Bay. Two or three days after 
the landing at Nasugbu, the nth Air- 
borne Division's 511th Parachute In- 
fantry would drop on Tagaytay Ridge to 
secure it for the foot troops and to seize 
nearby stretches of Route 17 before the 
Japanese could assemble to defend the 
highway. Once the entire division had 
assembled along Tagaytay Ridge, it 
would make ready to drive northward 
to Manila. 30 

While approving Eichelberger's plans 
for a single assault at Nasugbu, Mac- 
Arthur's concept of the 11th Airborne 
Division's employment was by no means 
as ambitious, at least initially, as Eighth 
Army's. Instead, Mac Arthur directed 
Eichelberger to land one RCT at Nasug- 
bu Bay in a reconnaissance-in-force to 
ascertain Japanese strength, deployment, 
and intentions in the Nasugbu-Tagaytay 
region. If it appeared that the Japanese 
had relatively weak forces at Tagaytay 
Ridge, then Eichelberger could assemble 
the entire division there and reconnoiter 
to the north and east to determine Japa- 
nese dispositions and to contain Japanese 
forces throughout southwestern Luzon— 
rather a far cry from mounting a drive 



* Rad, Eichelberger to MacArthur, FB-769, 20 Jan 
45, Eighth Army G-3 Jnl File Mike VI, 4-25 Jan 45; 
Eighth Army FO 17, 22 Jan 45, G— 3 GHQ Jnl File, 24 
Jan 45, 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



223 



to Manila. MacArthur set the date for 
the Nasugbu assault for 31 January, two 
days after XI Corps was to land north 
of Bataan. 31 

The organization and missions of the 
forces involved in the small-scale Nasug- 
bu landing were similar to those of 
previous amphibious operations under- 
taken within the Southwest Pacific Area. 
Task Group 78.2, under Rear Adm. Wil- 
liam M. Fechteler, loaded and landed 
the assault troops. The task group num- 
bered about 120 ships and landing craft 
of all types, its largest vessels being 
APD's and LST's. Fire support was 
provided by Task Unit 77.3.1, which 
consisted of a light cruiser and two de- 
stroyers. Planes of the 310th Bombard- 
ment Wing, based on Mindoro, provided 
air suppoit. 32 

The nth Airborne Division, which 
had been seasoned during the Leyte 
Campaign, numbered approximately 
8,200 men. Its two glider-infantry regi- 
ments, the 187th and 188th, had about 
1,500 men apiece (half the strength of 
a standard infantry regiment) and each 
contained two battalions of three rifle 
companies each. The regiments had no 
heavy weapons, cannon, or antitank com- 
panies. The 511th Parachute Infantry 
totaled about 2,000 men distributed 
among three battalions, each of which 
contained only three rifle companies. 
Artillery consisted of two 7g-mm. pack 
howitzer battalions, a 105-mm. howitzer 
battalion armed with a short barrel 



81 Rads, MacArthur to Eichelberger, C— 56806 and 
CX_569oS|, 22 Jan 45, Eighth Army G-g Jnl File Mike 
VI, 4-25 Jan 45. 

,! TG 78.2 Opn Plan No. 1-45, 23 Jan 45, Eighth 
Army G-3 Jnl File Mike VI, 4-25 Jan 45; AAF SWPA 
OI 86, 15 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 18 Jan 45. 



howitzer that lacked the range of the 
i05's of a standard infantry division, 
and an airborne antiaircraft artillery 
battalion armed with 40-mm. and .50- 
caliber guns. Reinforcements included 
the Cannon Company of the 24 th Divi- 
sion's 21st Infantry; Company C of the 
532d Engineer Boat and Shore Regi- 
ment, the 2d Engineer Special Brigade; 
two antiaircraft automatic weapons bat- 
teries; and various service units. A 
Mindoro-based battalion of the 24th 
Division's 19th Infantry was available 
on call. 33 

The 1 1 th Airborne Division expected 
to meet 7,000 Japanese in the Nasugbu- 
Tagaytay area, the bulk of them from 
the ijth and 31st Infantry Regiments, 
8th Division. The airborne unit be- 
lieved that about 500 Japanese defended 
the shores of Nasugbu Bay and that the 
main Japanese force, some 5,000 strong, 
held Route 17 at Tagaytay Ridge and a 
defile a few miles west of the ridge where 
the highway passed between the peaks 
of two extinct volcanoes. 34 

The estimates were correct in general 
but wrong in detail. Shimbu Group, re- 
sponsible for the conduct of operations 
in southern Luzon, had entrusted the 
defense of the region south of Manila 
to the Fuji Force, a composite unit un- 
der Col. Masatoshi Fujishige, who also 
commanded the 8th Division's zyth In- 



M nth A/B Div FO 10, 24 Jan 45; nth A/B Div 
Rpt Luzon, p. 57; Maj. Edward M. Flanagan, Jr., 
The Angels: A History of the nth Airborne Division, 
1943— 1946 (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 
1948), pp. 1—2; Eighth Army FO 17, 22 Jan 45, and 
Amendment No. 1, 26 Jan 45, both in G— 3 GHQ Jnl 
File, 24 Jan 45; Rad, GHQ SWPA to Eighth Army, 
CX-57J42, 1 Feb 45, Eighth Army G-3 Jnl File Mike 
VI, 26 Jan-2 Feb 45. 

81 1 1 th A/B Div FO 10, 24 Jan 45. 



224 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



fantry? 5 Numbering some 8,500 men, 
the Fuji Force was composed of the iyth 
Infantry, less 3d Battalion; the jjd Bat- 
talion, jist Infantry; a battalion of 
mixed artillery; and combat engineers 
and service troops of the 8th Division. 
Co-operating with Colonel Fujishige 
(and soon to pass to his direct com- 
mand) were about 5,000 troops of the 
2d Surface Raiding Base Force, a Japa- 
nese Army organization made up of sui- 
cide boat units, called Surface Raiding 
Squadrons, and their base support units, 
designated Surface Raiding Base Bat- 
talions.™ The Raiding Squadrons, on 
paper, each contained 100 suicide boats 
and a like number of men; each Base 
Battalion numbered about 900 troops, 
most of them service personnel. Five or 
six of the Raiding Squadrons, which had 
lost most of their boats to Allied air and 
naval action before or shortly after the 
11th Airborne Division's landing, ulti- 
mately became available to Colonel Fuji- 
shige, as did an equal number of the 
Base Battalions. Normally, the squad- 
rons were amalgamated with their sup- 
port battalions to form a single entity 
for ground combat operations. 

With a large area and an extensive 
coast line to hold, Fujishige originally 
deployed the bulk of his troops for de- 
fense against an Allied attack from the 

85 Japanese information in this and the following 
two subsections is mainly from: nth A/B Div Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 13-16, 27-28; Japanese Studies in WW II, 
No. 9, Luzon Opns of the Shimbu Gp, pp. 2-3, 8; 
Sixth Army G-2 Wkly Rpts 76 and 77, 21 and 28 Feb 
45, copies in G-2 DA Files; Statement of Lt Col Norio 
Tsutsumi (CO 2d Surface Raiding Base Force), States, 
IV, 426-28; Statement of Lt Col Tsugunori Kuriya 
(Staff 14th Area Army), States, II, 371-73; 10th I&H, 
Staff Study of Japanese Operations in the Batangas 
Area (Nasugbu Operation), passim. 

°" Many different translations from the Japanese 
are to be found for these forces, squadrons, and 
battalions. 



south rather than the west. In the area 
of immediate interest to the 1 1 th Air- 
borne Division he stationed his West 
Sector Unit, an organization of 2,250 
troops built on a nucleus of the jd Bat- 
talion, 31st Infantry. The West Sector 
Unit's largest concentration — 600 infan- 
try with artillery support — held the de- 
file just west of Tagaytay Ridge, while 
another 400 infantrymen defended a 
southwestern nose of the ridge. The 
West Sector Unit had only 100 troops at 
or near Nasugbu; the remaining men 
were scattered in small garrisons 
throughout southwestern Luzon. 

The Seizure of Tagaytay Ridge 

The 11th Airborne Division, less the 
5 1 1 th Parachute Infantry, staged on the 
shores of Leyte Gulf, whence the Task 
Group 78.2 convoy departed for Nasug- 
bu Bay during the afternoon of 27 Janu- 
ary. 37 The voyage to the objective area 
was uneventful. After destroyers con- 
ducted a short preliminary bombard- 
ment, assault troops of the 1st Battalion, 
188th Glider Infantry, aboard LCP (R) 's 
(Landing Craft, Personnel, Ramp) , 
launched from APD's, beached about 
0815. While some troops moved off to 
secure the flanks of the beachhead, the 
main body of the 188th Infantry drove 
inland through the town of Nasugbu 
and started southeastward along gravel 
roads toward the Palico River and the 
entrance to the section of Route 17 that 
led to Tagaytay Ridge. The Japanese 

S7 The general sources for this and the next sub- 
section are: Eighth Army Rpt Nasugbu and Bataan 
Opns, pp. 14-20; Flanagan, The Angels, pp. 67-77; 
nth A/B Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-4, 16, 27-28; nth 
A/B Div Hist Narrative Mike Six, pp. 1-3; nth 
A/B Div G-3 Per Rpts, 1-5 Feb 45; TG 78.2 Action 
Rpt Nasugbu, pp. 4^6. 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



225 



had opposed the landing lightly and in- 
effectively with rifle, machine gun, and 
mortar fire from positions on hills north 
and south of the beach. 38 

By 1115 General Eichelberger was 
satisfied that the initial landing, con- 
ducted as a reconnaissance-in-force, had 
been successful beyond expectation. He 
thereupon directed the rest of the 1 1 th 
Airborne Division — still less the para- 
chute regiment — to land. 39 All combat 
troops of the first day's convoy were 
ashore by 1230, by which time artillery 
had started inland and the 187th In- 
fantry, sending its ad Battalion toward 
the Palico River, had relieved rear 
elements of the 188th. 

The 188th Infantry's first important 
objective was a Palico River bridge car- 
rying the shortest and best route to 
Tagaytay Ridge over a gorge 250 feet 
wide and 85 feet deep. Lying five miles 
inland, the Palico bridge could hold the 
11th Airborne Division's heaviest loads. 
If the division could not seize the bridge 
intact, it would have to ford a river 
south of Nasugbu and work its way along 
poor roads to Route 17 east of the Palico 
crossing, a time-consuming process that 
would require considerable engineer 
effort and slow supply movements. 

But the action went well with the 
188th Infantry on 31 January, 40 The 



" Swing Comments, 10 Jan 57. 

** Rad, Eichelberger to MacArthur (via Navy chan- 
nels), 0245 31 Jan 45, in Eighth Army G-3 Jnl File 
Mike VI, 36 Jan-2 Feb 45. 

" Additional information on regimental operations 
is from: 188th Cli Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 1-4; 188th 
Para— Gli Inf, Draft Hist Luzon Campaign, 31 Jan— 
31 Mar 45, passim; 188th Inf S— 3 Per Rpts Luzon; 
187th Inf S-3 Per Rpts Luzon; 187th Inf Chron Nar- 
rative Mike VI; 1st Bn 187th Inf Chron Narrative 
Mike VI, 26 Jan— 24 Feb 45. Last four documents are 
in 1 1 th Airborne Division Camp Campbell (Ky.) 
collection. 



1st Battalion ran down an open hill west 
of the bridge, dashed across the span, 
and surprised a small group of Japanese 
on the east bank. Apparently stunned 
by the sudden, unexpected appearance 
of American forces, the Japanese failed 
to explode prepared demolitions. By 
1500 the entire 188th Infantry and the 
attached 2d Battalion, 187th Infantry, 
were across the Palico arid at the junc- 
tion of Route 17 with the main road 
from Nasugbu, now five miles to the 
west. 

Hoping to continue achieving tactical 
surprise and planning to have troops on 
Tagaytay Ridge before dark on 1 Feb- 
ruary, Eichelberger directed the nth 
Airborne Division to advance inland 
with all possible speed. He thought that 
the entire division, including the 511th 
Infantry, could assemble on Tagaytay 
Ridge on the 2d, and in anticipation 
asked the Fifth Air Force to drop the 
parachutists on the 2d instead of the 3d 
as originally planned. He also requested 
GHQ SWPA to ship the entire igth 
Infantry, 24th Division, to Nasugbu 
from Mindoro to protect the nth Air- 
borne Division's line of communications 
to Tagaytay Ridge and release all the 
airborne unit for the advance toward 
Manila. The Fifth Air Force replied 
affirmatively, but General MacArthur 
agreed only to make another battalion 
of the igth Infantry available in addi- 
tion to the one that was already under 
Eichelberger's control and loading for 
Luzon.* 1 



" Rad, Eichelberger to MacArthur, 0245 31 Jan 45; 
Rad, MacArthur to Eichelberger, CX-57342, 1 Feb 45, 
Eighth Army G-3 Jnl File Mike VI, 26 Jan-2 Feb 45; 
TG 78.2 Action Rpt Nasugbu, Chron Order of 
Events, p. 4. 



226 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



At 1800 on 31 January the 188th In- 
fantry's advance elements halted four 
miles along Route 17 beyond the Palico 
bridge. The regiment resumed the ad- 
vance at 0100 on 1 February, heading 
for the defile west of Tagaytay Ridge. 
As the lead troops approached the defile 
at first light, Japanese machine gun and 
rifle fire stopped them; when dawn 
broke, Japanese artillery emplaced on 
high ground to the left front of the 
188th Infantry forced the regiment's 
point to withdraw slightly. 

Ground and air reconnaissance dis- 
closed that the Japanese defenses were 
centered on the bare, steep, southern and 
eastern slopes of Mt. Cariliao, north of 
the highway, and along the open and 
more rugged northern slopes of Mt. 
Batulao, south of the road. Raising its 
broken, scrub-grown crest over 2,100 
feet above sea level and 1,300 feet above 
the Route 17 defile, Mt. Cariliao pro- 
vided the Japanese with excellent de- 
fensive terrain, while the rough slopes 
of Mt. Batulao, almost 2,700 feet high, 
afforded almost innumerable hideaways. 
To the 11th Airborne Division, ap- 
proaching along ground that gave little 
concealment in patches of scrub growth, 
the key to the Japanese defenses ap- 
peared to be Mt. Aiming, a sharp, bare 
height of some 1,180 feet off the south- 
eastern slopes of Mt. Cariliao. Picking 
its way through what cover and conceal- 
ment it could find, including a sharp 
gorge on the north side of Route 17, 
Company A of the 188th Infantry se- 
cured a foothold on the southern slopes 
of Mt. Aiming about noon on 1 Febru- 
ary. The remainder of the 1st Battalion 
followed quickly, and in the face of 
Japanese machine gun and mortar fire, 
rapidly cleared all Mt. Aiming. This 



achievement split the Japanese defenses 
at the defile and helped reduce the vol- 
ume of point-blank machine gun and 
rifle fire that had held up the division, 
which now made preparations to con- 
tinue the advance on 2 February with 
one battalion along Route 17 and an- 
other overrunning Japanese defenses on 
the northern slopes of Mt. Batulao. 

The delay occasioned by the fight at 
the defile on 1 February dashed General 
Eichelberger's hopes for assembling the 
entire division on Tagaytay Ridge by 
dusk on 2 February. General MacArthur 
had instructed Eichelberger not to call 
the 5 1 1 th Parachute Infantry forward 
until he was certain that the paratroop- 
ers could make contact with the rest of 
the i ith Airborne Division within twen- 
ty-four hours of their drop. Since it 
appeared by evening on 1 February that 
the division might well have to spend 
all day on 2 February fighting* its way 
through the defile, Eichelberger re- 
luctantly changed the parachute drop 
back to 3 February. 42 

Despite strong close support by Fifth 
Air Force planes and division artillery, 
the 188th Infantry could make little 
progress on the morning of 2 February. 
However, momentum picked up shortly 
after 1200 when troops broke through 
to barrio Aga, a mile and a half east 
of Mt. Aiming. The Japanese had hur- 
riedly abandoned Aga, the site of the 
West Sector Unit's command post, and 
had left behind large stores of ammuni- 
tion, engineer equipment, and other 
supplies of all sorts, including many 



41 Rati, MacArthur to Eichelberger, 0-56806, 22 
Jan 45, Eighth Army G-g Jnl File Mike VI, 4-25 Jan 
45; Rad, Eighth Army to Fifth Air Force, FB-839, 1 
Feb 45, Eighth Army G— 3 Jnl File Mike VI, 26 Jan— 2 
Feb 45- 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



227 



weapons. By 1800 on the 2d the 1st 
Battalion, 187th Infantry, now leading 
the attack along Route 17, was three 
miles beyond Aga and only two miles 
short of the west end of Tagaytay Ridge. 
The advance halted for the night and 
the battalion prepared to resume its 
drive at 0830 on the 3d to make contact 
with the 511th Parachute Infantry, 
scheduled to start dropping on Tagaytay 
Ridge at 0815. 

On the morning of 3 February the 
188th Infantry met no resistance until 
after 1000, when it began rounding a 
bare ridge nose on the north side of a 
sharp bend on Route 17 at the western 
end of Tagaytay Ridge. Japanese troops 
holding another steep, bare ridge nose 
south of the bend then opened up with 
rifle, machine gun, and mortar fire that 
was augmented by artillery fire from em- 
placements north of the highway. Leav- 
ing one battalion to deal with this new 
opposition, the rest of the reinforced 
regiment pressed on up Tagaytay Ridge 
along Route 17 and, about 1300, at a 
point nearly two miles beyond the bend, 
made contact with men of the 511th 
Parachute Infantry. 

Unopposed, about 1,750 troops of the 
51 ith had begun dropping along Tagay- 
tay Ridge just about on schedule. 43 It 
was well that there was no opposition, 
for the 'troopers had landed in an inor- 
dinately scattered fashion. The drop 



13 Additional sources for 511th Infantry operations 
are: 511th Inf S— 1, S-2, and S— 3 Jnls (incomplete) 
Luzon, nth A/B Div Camp Campbell (Ky.) col- 
lection; Ltr, CG Fifth Air Force to CG Eighth Army, 
4. T'eb 45, Eighth Army G-g Jnl File Mike VI, 2-19 
Feb 45, with atchd Mission Rpts, 317th Tr Carrier 
Op; 5 1 1 th Inf S— 1 Casualty and Inspection Rpts 
Luzon. 



zone selected for the 51 ith Infantry cen- 
tered a mile and a half north-northeast 
of the Route 17 bend and was situated 
along the fairly gentle, grassy northern 
slopes of Tagaytay Ridge. Less than a 
third of the parachutists landed in the 
selected area. 

The first echelon of the 511th Infan- 
try, about 915 officers and men in all, 
had come to Tagaytay Ridge aboard 48 
C-47 aircraft of the 317th Troop Carrier 
Group. The planes had flown north 
from Mindoro to approach Tagaytay 
Ridge from the northeast in order to 
avoid fire from Japanese antiaircraft 
weapons west of the drop zone. The first 
18 planes, carrying about 345 troops, 
dropped over the assigned area. At this 
juncture, planes from succeeding nights 
were nearly six miles and three minutes 
behind the lead aircraft. About 0820 
one of these later planes dumped out a 
couple of bundles of supplies. Taking 
this as a signal that they were over the 
proper drop zone, 'troopers of the suc- 
ceeding 30 planes began jumping. Air- 
craft pilots, realizing they had not yet 
reached the proper point, attempted to 
halt the jumping, but the filth's jump- 
masters continued sending the para- 
troopers out. Most of them landed 
almost five miles east-northeast of the 
assigned drop zone. 

A second group of fifty-one C-47's 
began approaching the drop area about 
1210. Some 80 men from the first 5 
aircraft of this group landed in the 
proper place. The rest started out of 
their planes when they saw on the 
ground the collapsed chutes of the first 
misplaced jump. In the end, of the men 
jumping on 3 February only 425 landed 
on the assigned drop zone; the others, 
about 1,325 in all, made scattered land- 



228 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Airdrop on Tagaytay Ridge 



ings four and one-half to six miles to the 
east and northeast. 

The 1 1 th Airborne Division, blaming 
the 317th Troop Carrier Group for the 
premature dropping, reported that the 
"true reason was the refusal of the Air 
Force to co-operate in a combined train- 
ing program for Airborne and Air Force 
troops . . . ." 44 While it is true that 
many of the 3i7th's pilots had no experi- 



nth A/B Div Rpt Luzon, p. 4, 



ence in parachute operations, the divi- 
sion's records indicate that the division 
had participated in a significant amount 
of combined training in the United 
States and again in New Guinea. In any 
event, it appears that some lack of jump 
discipline within the 5 1 1 th Infantry con- 
tributed to the scattered, premature 
jumping. 

Whether the jump was necessary is a 
question that cannot be answered cate- 
gorically. Certainly, the drop was not 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



229 



required to secure Tagaytay Ridge — 
there were no Japanese there and ele- 
ments of the 188th Infantry were already 
on the west end o£ the ridge before the 
first paratroopers were out of their 
planes. On the other hand, with the 
Allied Naval Forces short of amphibious 
lift and escorts to move the regiment any 
sooner, the 51 ith Infantry, coming from 
Mindoro by sea and then overland from 
Nasugbu, could not have reached Tagay- 
tay Ridge until late on 4 February at 
the earliest. In such an event the 11th 
Airborne Division, with insufficient 
strength to continue toward Manila, 
might have been forced to wait along 
the ridge another day, giving the Japa- 
nese ample time to redeploy forces to 
defend Route 17 north of the ridge. 
Eichelberger hoped that the division 
could move in strength on Manila dur- 
ing 3 February and catch off balance the 
defenders south of the city. Whatever 
the case, the day or two saved by the 
511th Infantry's jump would prove to 
make no difference, for the Japanese, 
had already fully manned strong de- 
fenses at the southern outskirts of Ma- 
nila, though Eighth Army and the 11th 
Airborne Division could not know this 
on the basis of available information. 

To the Outskirts of Manila 

Luckily for the 511th Infantry, the 
area where the bulk of its men hit the 
ground was not too impossible, although 
many of the 'troopers had landed in or 
among banana trees. The regiment suf- 
fered about 50 jump casualties — a low 
rate of less than 3 percent — of whom all 
but two were listed as "slightly injured." 
One man was killed and another was 
carried on the casualty lists as seriously 



injured. 45 Despite the organizational 
problems the scattered jump created, 
Col. Orin D. Haugen, commanding the 
511th Infantry, had all his troops under 
his control by 1400. He dispatched pa- 
trols westward to establish contact with 
the 188th Infantry, and his men, encoun- 
tering no opposition, secured the eastern 
end of Tagaytay Ridge where Route 17 
turned sharply north and downhill to- 
ward Manila. Haugen also sent patrols 
out along roads and trails leading north 
and south from the ridge crest and at 
evening reported to division headquar- 
ters that he had found no signs of 
Japanese. 

Generals Eichelberger and Swing now 
intended to have the reinforced 188th 
Infantry hold Tagaytay Ridge and re- 
duce the Japanese pocket on the western 
nose while the 511th Infantry pushed 
north toward Manila with all possible 
speed. Swing sent all of his available 
motor transportation forward to Tagay- 
tay Ridge to move the 511th Infantry 
northward in battalion-sized shuttles 
and directed the 188th Infantry to follow 
when ready. 

This plan constituted a change in mis- 
sion for the 11th Airborne Division. 
MacArthur's original instructions to 
Eichelberger had envisaged that the divi- 
sion's primary duties would be to con- 
tain Japanese forces in southern Luzon 
and patrol to ascertain Japanese disposi- 
tions and intentions in its area of respon- 



" General Swing, commenting on this passage, 
stated that he could not recall any fatalities (.Swing 
Comments, to January 1957), but the division's 
records indicate that one man was cither killed or 
later died of injuries. The division records being 
incomplete and confusing on this point, it may be 
that the two men listed in the subject sentence were 
one and the same. 



230 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



sibility. Manifestly, the division could not 
carry out these duties if it drove north 
to Manila. Eichelberger's authority to 
change the mission apparently derived 
from personal contact with Mac Arthur, 
who had given the Eighth Army com- 
mander considerable discretion on the 
handling of the 1 ith Airborne Division. 46 

Eichelberger's hopes that the nth 
Airborne Division could start its dash 
to Manila on 3 February did not come 
to fruition. It was after daylight on the 
4th before the 2d Battalion, 511th In- 
fantry, already over twelve hours behind 
Sixth Army elements coming into the city 
from the north, set out from Tagaytay 
Ridge. Moving as fast as the elementary 
requirements of caution permitted, the 
battalion sped rapidly northward along 
two-lane, concrete-paved Route 17, At 
every town and barrio through the open 
country crowds of cheering Filipinos 
greeted the column and, once or twice, 
practically halted the movement in their 
enthusiasm. 

About 1130 forward elements 
detrucked at Imus, a small town almost 
twenty-five miles north of Tagaytay 
Ridge. The Route 17 bridge over the 
Imus River just south of the town was 
out, and about fifty Japanese, holed up 
in an old stone building dating back to 



the early days of the Spanish occupation, 
blocked an alternate bridge within Imus. 
Most of the infantry walked across the 
river along the top of a small dam south 
of town, while Company D, 511th Infan- 
try, supported by some 75-mm. howitzers 
of the 674th Field Artillery, undertook to 
reduce the Japanese strongpoint so that 
the trucks could continue up Route 17. 
The 5-foot-thick walls of the old build- 
ing proved impervious to the light artil- 
lery shells, so T. Sgt. Robert C. Steele 
climbed to the building's roof, knocked 
a hole through the roofing, poured in 
gasoline, and started a fine flash fire 
inside with a white phosphorus hand 
grenade. As the Japanese came dashing 
out, they were summarily cut down by 
the men of Company D. Steele person- 
ally dispatched two Japanese who 
remained inside the building. 47 

With the Imus bridge secure, the para- 
chute battalion drove on another three 
miles to Zapote. Here, Route 17 ended 
at a junction with Route 25, which led 
another half mile northeast across the 
Zapote River to a junction with Route 
1 a mile south of a bridge over the Las 
Pinas River at Las Pinas. The Japanese 
had prepared the Las Pinas bridge for 
demolitions and were to defend it from 
positions on the north bank, but the men 



" Eighth Army Rpt Nasugbu-Bataan, p. 22; Eichel- 
berger and MacKaye, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo, 
p. 189. Both Maj. Gen. Clovis E. Byers (contempo- 
rary Chief of Staff, Eighth Army) and Brig. Gen. 
Frank S. Bowen (Eichelberger's G-g) stated that 
Eichelberger received supplementary verbal instruc- 
tions from MacArthur. (See Ltr, Byers to author, 30 
Jun 53, in OCMH files.) Eichelberger, reviewing the 
draft manuscript of this volume, stated that before 
the 11th Airborne Division departed I.eyte, General 
.Sutherland (MacArthur's chief of staff) came to 
Eighth Army headquarters on I.cytc and stated that 



MacArthur wanted Eichelberger to capture Manila. 
(See Eichelberger Comments, 21 Jan 57.) No docu- 
ments relevant to the change can be found in avail- 
able GHQ SWPA, Eighth Army, or 11th Airborne 
Division files. Whatever the case, there can he no 
doubt that General Eichelberger would have liked 
a share in the honor of seizing Manila and that he 
would dearly have loved to beat Sixth Army into the 
capital city. 

" Steele was awarded the Distinguished Service 
Cross for this exploit. Tragically, the award had to 
be made posthumously, for the sergeant was killed 
a few days later in Manila. 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



231 




of the 511th Infantry caught the Japa- 
nese by surprise and secured the span 
intact after a short, sharp fire fight. The 
2d Battalion held at Las Pinas while the 
1st Battalion, coming north on a second 
truck shuttle from Tagaytay Ridge, 
passed through and continued toward 
Manila. 

Driving through a densely populated 
area and following Route 1 up the shore 
of Manila Bay, the 1st Battalion left Las 
Pinas behind at 1800, The battalion ran 
into increasingly heavy harassing fire 
from Japanese riflemen and machine 
gunners. At Paranaque, two miles be- 
yond Las Pinas, the unit found a bridge 
across the Paranaque River badly dam- 
aged, defended by Japanese on the north 
bank, and covered by Japanese mortar 



and artillery fire originating from Nichols 
Field, a mile and a half to the northeast. 
Here, only four miles south of the 
Manila city limits, 48 the Japanese stopped 
the 5 1 1 th Infantry. 

On 4 February the 5 1 1 th Infantry, in 
various clashes, lost 8 men killed and 19 
wounded. The entire 1 1 th Airborne 
Division, since its landing, had lost ap- 
proximately 35 men killed and 150 
wounded, plus 50 injured in the Tagay- 
tay Ridge jump. The division now faced 
the principal Japanese defenses south of 
Manila. 



48 The same questions as to the location of the city 
limits a rise here, as in the case of the 1st Cavalry 
Division, See above, n, 26, 



232 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Support Operations During the 
Approach March 

Logistical Problems 

One of the major problems the XIV 
Corps and the nth Airborne Division 
faced during their drives to Manila was 
logistical in nature, deriving from the 
speed of the advances, the distances cov- 
ered, the chronic shortages of motor 
transportation, and the destruction of 
bridges. 49 General Krueger's request of 
20 January that the Allied Air Forces 
cease knocking out bridges on Luzon 
proved of little help to XIV Corps. By 
that time most of the bridges that the 
Allied Air Forces, the Japanese, or the 
Filipino guerrillas ever intended to de- 
stroy in the XIV Corps zone were already 
down. 

It is well-nigh impossible to ascertain 
to whom the credit for bridge destruc- 
tion on Luzon should go, for the cycle of 
demolitions, repairs, and redestruction 
was often quite involved. For example, 
in 1941-42 General MacArthur's with- 
drawing forces had destroyed fifteen 
major highway bridges and four major 
railroad bridges between the Agno River 
and Manila/' Part of this destruction 
had not been too successful, and the Jap- 
anese had had little trouble repairing 
some spans, such as those at Cabanatuan 
and Gapan. In 1945 the 1st Cavalry 

■" The general sources for this subsection are: Sixth 
Army Rpt Luzon, III, 55, 115; ibid., IV, 86-89, ,o8 > 
118, 134, 143-44; Eighth Army Rpt Nasugbu-Rataan, 
pp. Ha, 50—54, 57, 71; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 37, 
•97-99> sio-11; 117th F.ngr Bn Rpt, 8 Jan-4 Feb 45- 
p. 11; Craven and Gate, AAF V , p. 41)8. 

"Ltr, Col Harry A. Skerry (Ret.), in 1942 the En- 
gineer North Luzon Force and I Philippine Corps, to 
author, 26 Jun 53, copy in OCMH files. See also 
Morton, Fait of the Philippines, passim. 



Division was able to send its heaviest 
loads across both bridges after engineers 
made relatively minor repairs. While 
the Japanese had repaired many spans 
for heavy loads, they had replaced others 
with light, wooden structures that could 
not bear Sixth Army loads. In 1945 the 
Japanese not only demolished bridges 
they had once repaired but also knocked 
out many spans that MacArthur's forces 
had not needed to destroy in 1941-42. 
While the Allied Air Forces bombed 
many of the bridges in the Central Plains 
(and in southern Luzon as well) , it 
appears that the Japanese executed most 
of the bridge destruction south from the 
Agno to Manila during January and 
February 1945, a conclusion borne out 
by guerrilla reports and because the 
type of destruction accomplished usually 
resulted from carefully placed demoli- 
tion charges rather than aerial bombard- 
ment. The extent of Japanese plans for 
bridge destruction is indicated by the 
fact that almost all the bridges the XIV 
Corps and the 11th Airborne Division 
captured intact had been prepared for 
demolition. The Allied Air Forces, and 
carrier-based planes too, did destroy or 
damage some bridges, while the guer- 
rillas also had a hand in some of the 
destruction, or at least prevented the 
Japanese from effecting permanent 
repairs after g January. 

To span the many streams on the way 
to Manila, Sixth Army engineers leap- 
frogged bridging equipment southward, 
sending ponton and heavy treadway 
bridging forward as Baileys and other 
semipermanent crossings were erected 
over the Agno River and other streams 
back to Lingayen Gulf. For example, at 
the Sulipan Canal, a mile north of 
Calumpit, the first bridge was a light pon- 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



233 



ton affair that the 530th Engineer Light 
Ponton Company set up on 1 February. 
On the next day heavy ponton equip- 
ment arrived from a dismantled bridge 
over the Bued River at Lingayen Gulf, 
and by 1030 on the zd the 556th Engi- 
neer Heavy Ponton Battalion, having 
worked at a feverish pace, had completed 
a new bridge that could carry 16-ton 
loads across the canal. As soon as the 
larger Sulipan bridge was in place, trucks 
laden with heavy treadway bridging dis- 
mantled from the Agno River crossing at 
Bayambang came over the canal on their 
way to the Pampanga River at Calumpit. 
The heavy treadway that the Sixth Army 
engineers had trucked south proved sixty 
feet too short to span the Pampanga but, 
improvising with all sorts of equipment, 
the 37th Division's 117th Engineer Bat- 
talion was able to complete the crossing. 
According to General Beightler, this con- 
tretemps at the Pampanga held up the 
37th Division for a full day on its way 
to Manila while the division waited for 
its supporting tanks and artillery to cross 
the river. 51 

As soon as the Pampanga bridge was 
ready, the 530th Light Ponton Company 
dismantled the bridge they had erected 
across the Sulipan Canal and moved it 
south to the Bigaa River. Still further 
south, at Meycauyan, engineers assem- 
bled another ponton bridge, using sec- 
tions removed from the Agno River at 
Villasis in I Corps' zone, where other 
engineers had completed a Bailey bridge. 
By a complex continuation of such pro- 
cesses, the engineers assured a constant 
flow of supplies and heavy equipment 
down Route 3 behind the 37th Division. 

In the 1st Cavalry Division's zone the 



Beightler Comments, 18 Mar 57. 



first major, unbridged water obstacle was 
the Angat River. After most of the divi- 
sion had crossed that stream via fords in 
the vicinity of Baliuag and Sabang, en- 
gineers began constructing a heavy tread- 
way bridge, using equipment originally 
earmarked for the Pampanga River at 
Cabanatuan but not needed there. The 
cavalry seized the Tuliahan bridge near 
Novaliches on 3 February, but the next 
night a Japanese raiding party destroyed 
it—the division's security was not good 
enough. Since the Tuliahan was unford- 
able, an acute supply problem immedi- 
ately arose and, worse still, the main 
body of the 1st Cavalry Division could 
not get into Manila for two days, leaving 
General Chase's Flying Columns virtu- 
ally isolated at Santo Tomas University. 
On 4 and 5 February the division sent 
supplies to General Chase's force over 
roads and bridges in the 37th Division's 
zone, but on the 6th engineers built a 
ford near Novaliches and supplies again 
started crossing the Tuliahan. 

Japanese infiltration parties continued 
to harass the 1st Cavalry Division's rather 
exposed, easterly supply route. There- 
fore, when XIV Corps engineers com- 
pleted a bridge over the Angat at 
Plaridel, the division abandoned the 
Novaliches route and sent its traffic south 
along Route 5 three miles from Plaridel 
to the Routes 3-5 junction at Tabang 
and thence into the city. Needless to 
say, bridge congestion became chronic 
between Tabang and Manila, a situation 
that obtained for many crossings in XIV 
Corps' area. Engineers at first had been 
able to erect only one-lane spans at each 
stream. As a result, on one side of a 
river Manila-bound traffic soon jammed 
up, while on the other empty vehicles 
returning northward for another load 



234 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



created a second traffic jam. Only con- 
stant, carefully co-ordinated efforts of 
traffic control officers prevented complete 
chaos. 

Having captured most of the bridges 
along its route of advance, the 1 ith Air- 
borne Division encountered no serious 
crossing problems until it reached the 
Paranaque River. Initially, the division 
employed small rafts made from rubber 
assault boats to move its supplies and 
equipment across the Paranaque, but 
within a few days division engineers had 
completed temporary timber repairs at 
the damaged Paranaque span and vehicles 
began crossing. 

Even with adequate bridging installed, 
the XIV Corps and the 1 1 th Airborne 
Division continued to face knotty trans- 
portation problems. The speed and dis- 
tances involved in the advances toward 
Manila meant that all trucks were in al- 
most constant use. All other available 
motor transport also had to be employed. 
Dukws, not designed for the job, made 
long overland hauls; jeeps and engineer 
flat-bed trailers, often overloaded, car- 
ried general supplies; LVT's, employed 
as ferries at many rivers, also sometimes 
carried cargo for long distances overland. 
The demands on maintenance person- 
nel and equipment became abnormally 
heavy, even though vehicles were in 
such constant use that it was nearly im- 
possible to pull them off duty for the 
most pressing repairs. If maintenance 
officers and men verged on nervous 
breakdowns, they can hardly be blamed. 
Trucks Consumed tires at an alarming 
rate, especially over gravel roads in the 
ist Cavalry Division's sector and along 
a particularly vicious stretch of sharp 
gravel along Route 17 between Nasugbu 
and Tagaytay Ridge. 



Another problem arose in the 1 1 th 
Airborne Division's zone. The beaches 
at Nasugbu, contrary to expectations, 
proved unsatisfactory for discharging 
LST's. From time to time it became 
relatively difficult to supply even the 
small 11th Airborne Division over these 
beaches, and the adverse conditions there 
convinced planners that it would be im- 
practicable to unload and supply the 41st 
Infantry Division through Nasugbu. 
Plans to employ the 41st Division on 
Luzon were thereupon dropped. 52 

None of the problems proved insolu- 
ble, and troops at the front were never 
without at least the bare minimum of 
essential supplies. For a time the 11th 
Airborne Division faced a serious gaso- 
line shortage, but this was eliminated 
when, on 5 February, C-47's began flying 
drums of gasoline to a hastily prepared 
airstrip at Nasugbu. Later, cargo planes 
dropped general supplies along Tagaytay 
Ridge, thereby overcoming the inade- 
quacies of the Nasugbu beaches, shorten- 
ing the division's supply line, and 
reducing the problem of tire wear. Nev- 
ertheless, the nth Airborne Division 
was unable to eliminate all of its supply 
problems until it began receiving sup- 
plies from the north, through Manila. 

In the 1st Cavalry Division General 
Chase's Flying Columns, reduced to two 
K-ration meals per day, went a bit hun- 
gry on 4 and 5 February after the Japa- 
nese destroyed the Novaliches bridge. 
Practically the only other supply prob- 
lem in the 37th Infantry Division and 
1st Cavalry Division sectors evolved from 



02 Rati, Eichelberger to MacArthur (via Navy chan- 
nels), 0955 g 1 Jan 45, and Rad, MacArthur to Eichel- 
berger, CX-57342, 1 Feb 45, both in Eighth Army 
G-g Jnl File Mike VI, gg Tan-2 Feb 45. See also 
above, p. 222, and below fch. XXIV."] 



MANILA: THE APPROACH MARCH 



235 



delays incident to the installation of 
heavy bridging that trucks, tanks, and 
artillery could cross. As the result of 
such delays, supporting units sometimes 
did not get forward as rapidly as the 
infantry and cavalry unit commanders 
desired. 

Thus, it is obvious that the success of 
the dash to Manila depended in large 
measure upon the success of Engineer, 
Transportation, and Quartermaster 
units. That the dash was successful is 
ample testimony to the effectiveness with 
which these supporting units operated. 

Air Support Operations 

While the XIV Corps and the nth 
Airborne Division required few close 
air support missions during their drives 
toward Manila, air power assumed an 
important role in the operations. 53 The 
511th Parachute Infantry drop is one 
case in point. On XIV Corps' left, air 
operations attained perhaps more signifi- 
cance. With its left exposed, the 1st 
Cavalry Division depended in large 
measure upon air for its flank protection. 
Beginning on 1 February Marine Air 
Groups 24 and 32, flying from the re- 
cently completed Mangaldan strip near 
Lingayen Gulf, kept nine SBD's (Doug- 
las dive bombers) over the cavalry's lead- 
ing elements. Other SBD's and Fifth Air 
Force P-40's, all under 308th Bombard- 
ment Wing control, undertook recon- 
naissance missions along the cavalry's 
left flank and left front. During the last 



™ The general sources for this subsection are: Sixth 
Army Rpt Luzon, I, 99-103, «o8; Hist of 308th Bom- 
bardment Wing, ch. IV, 1 January-28 May 45, pp. 8, 
13-14, 17; Boggs, Marine Aviation in the Philippines, 
pp. 74-79; Craven and Cate, A4F V, pp. 420, 425-28, 
44a; 11th A/B Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 3—4. 



stages of the dash to Manila a squadron 
of Fifth Air Force A-2o's — medium 
bombers — maintained a constant ground 
alert at the Lingayen fields awaiting call 
by either of XIV Corps' leading 
divisions. 

The SBD's flew only one close support 
mission — if it can be so designated. Near 
the Santa Maria River ford, on 3 Febru- 
ary, the 1st Cavalry Division called upon 
the Marine planes to disperse a small 
group of Japanese holding a piece of 
high ground dominating the crossing 
point. Unable to fire because the cavalry- 
men were too close to the target, the 
planes made several simulated strafing 
attacks over the Japanese positions. 
These "dry runs" so unnerved the 
Japanese that most of them soon fled. 94 

Mindoro-based planes of the 310th 
Bombardment Wing provided the sup- 
port for the 11th Airborne Division. 
P-47's or P-38's maintained a constant 
four-plane umbrella over the leading 
troops, and on 1 and 2 February the 
310th Wing executed close support 
bombardment and strafing missions at 
the defile west of Tagaytay Ridge. 

Not all the air support missions went 
off without a hitch. It might have been 
expected that after three years' experi- 
ence air-ground co-operation would be 
such as to preclude bombing and strafing 
friendly troops, but the contemporary 
records of Sixth Army and its compo- 
nents reveal that there were many such 
incidents, most of them apparently at- 



51 Boggs, Marine Aviation in the Philippines, p. 78; 
Wright, 1st Cavalry Division in WW II, p. 128. Both 
sources state that the incident occurred on 2 Febru- 
ary, but according to the 1st Cavalry Division's con- 
temporary records none of its troops were near the 
target area until the morning of the 3d. 



236 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



tributable to pilot errors in target 
identification. 89 

Late in January General Krueger had 
informed General Kenney, the com- 
mander of the Allied Air Forces, that 
since the Fifth Air Force had taken over 
air support responsibility on Luzon from 
the Allied Naval Forces' CVE-based 
planes there had been "numerous inci- 
dents" of Fifth Air Force planes attack- 
ing I and XIV Corps troops. Krueger 
went on to point out that, as a result, his 
ground forces were rapidly losing confi- 
dence in the supporting air arm. 56 Fi- 
nally, after another mistake by Fifth Air 
Force planes on 4 February caused more 
casualties, 67 Krueger sent Kenney a 
blistering radio: 

I must insist that you take effective meas- 
ures to stop the bombing and strafing of 



M The Air Forces official history says of air opera- 
tions during the Luzon Campaign that: "Air mis- 
takes resulting in casualties to Sixth Army troops 
were few and limited almost entirely to the first two 
months of the campaign." And again that "Reac- 
tions of the air commanders to these accidents was 
somewhat less philosophical than those of the ground 
generals, one of whom spoke of having experienced 
short rounds from his own artillery." 

The Air Forces' volume lists but three air support 
mistakes during the period of the drive to Manila, 
two involving Fifth Air Force planes strafing Sixth 
Army troops and the third an accidental jettisoning 
of a bomb on a Navy LSM by a Marine Corps SBD. 
(Craven and Cate, AAF V, p. 44a.) But as indicated 
in this text, ground commanders were anything but 
"philosophical" about the errors, while the records 
of the ground units clearly demonstrate that there 
were many more errors than the Air Forces history 
would lead one to believe. 

"Rad, Krueger to Kenney, WL-907, 30 Jan 45, 
Sixth Army G— 3 Jnl File Luzon, 29-31 Jan 45. 

" The strafing of troops of the ist Infantry, 6th 
Division, at San Jose. See above j ch. XI. | 



our ground forces by friendly planes. . . . 
These repeated occurrences are causing 
ground troops to lose confidence in air sup- 
port and are adversely affecting morale. 88 

General Kenney and his subordinates, 
having received steadily increasing criti- 
cism from Sixth Army troops, were tak- 
ing many steps to prevent errors. It can 
be supposed that they now redoubled 
their efforts. 59 

The vast majority of air strikes, what- 
ever service executed them, were both 
accurate and helpful. As the campaign 
on Luzon progressed, the incidence of 
mistakes rapidly diminished as Fifth Air 
Force pilots became more familiar with 
the ground situation and the Allied Air 
Forces and the Sixth Army modified and 
improved air-ground liaison and control 
systems. Although some of the Army 
divisions on Luzon preferred to have 
Marine Corps aircraft support them, 
Fifth Air Force pilots, who had previ- 
ously had rather limited experience in 
close air support operations, became well 
versed in such activity, and some of the 
Fifth's squadrons came to provide as ex- 
cellent close air support as was to be 
executed anywhere during World War 
II. In the end, the Fifth Air Force did 
its job and did it well. 



M Rad, Krueger to Kenney, WG-32, 4 Feb 45, Sixth 
Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 2-4 Feb 45. 

m Rad, Kenney to Krueger, AX^-34890, 31 Jan 45, 
Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, gt Jan — s Feb 45. 
No reply to Krueger's 4 February radio can be found 
in available files. 



CHAPTER XIII 

Manila: The Defenders and the Defenses 



The City 

Manila is a city — a statement that, 
having been made, leaves far too much 
unsaid. 1 It is a city of contrasts — con- 
trasts deriving from unbroken centuries 
of existence and a polyglot population. 
It is a city of parts, capable of being all 
things to all men. There are sections 
that cannot be called modern in any 
sense of the word. There are sections 
that are ultramodern. It boasts movie 
houses, filling stations, night clubs, slums, 
dark alleys, and broad, tree-lined boule- 
vards. There are hospitals and univer- 
sities; shipping offices and department 
stores; private clubs and public parks; 
race tracks and cockpits; an Olympic 
Games stadium and yacht clubs; street- 
car tracks and bus lines; pony-drawn 
taxis and railroad stations. A touch of 
medieval Spain rubs harshly against mod- 
ern port facilities; centuries-old churches 
and monasteries face gasworks and brew- 
eries. Nipa-thatched huts house part of 
the teeming population, while for others 

1 This section is based principally upon: AGS 
SWPA Terrain Study No. 94, Central Luzon, vol. I, 
Text and Maps, 18 Oct 44; AGS SWPA Terrain 
Handbook No. 41, Manila, zi Nov 44; AGS SWPA 
Terrain Handbook No, 41— A, Manila City, 6 Dec 44; 
Encyclop&dia Britannica, 195s, XIV, 806—08, 
Throughout this and subsequent chapters on Manila, 
descriptive material has been supplemented by the 
author's own observations, since he was stationed in 
Manila for almost nine months in 1945 and revisited 
it in April 1957. 



home is a modern air-conditioned 
apartment. Manila is a city. 

Established at the site of an ancient 
Tagalog village, Manila, whose existence 
antedates that of any urban center of the 
United States except St. Augustine, was 
founded in 1571 by Spanish colonizer 
Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Independent 
— that is, not under the administration 
of any province — the city, in 1945, cov- 
ered an area of nearly 14.5 square miles. 
It stretched about 5.5 miles north to 
south along the eastern shore of Manila 
Bay and extended inland approximately 
4 miles. With the surrounding suburbs 
and small towns of Rizal Province, the 
city formed a public utilities service area 
known as Greater Manila. An area of 
almost no square miles, Greater Manila 
extended from the Paranaque River 
north some ten miles to include Grace 
Park and inland, with irregular bounda- 
ries, about eight miles to the Marikina 
River. 

The city's population had increased 
greatly since the outbreak of war, mainly 
as the result of a job-seeking influx from 
the provinces. In December 1941 Ma- 
nila's population was about 625,000 and 
the total for Greater Manila was nearly 
850,000. The peak of growth was reached 
in the early fall of 1944 — people began 
to move out again after Allied air attacks 
started in September. Just before the air 
attacks began, the population of the city 




Central Manila 



MANILA: THE DEFENDERS AND THE DEFENSES 



239 



proper was over 8oo,ooo, and that of 
Greater Manila was some 1,100,000, 

The business district lay in the west- 
central part of Manila north of the Pasig 
River, which flows westward into Manila 
Bay through the center of the city. (Map 
VI)\ Likewise, most of the retail stores, 
movie houses, restaurants, and other 
service and amusement outlets, as well 
as many manufacturing plants, were 
north of the Pasig. Tondo District, on 
the bay front, was the most populous 
residential area, housing laborers, fisher- 
men, and others in the lower income 
brackets, often in substandard dwellings. 
To the east of the business area lay better 
residential districts, which, antedating 
World War I for the most part, housed 
the older European families and many 
of the middle and upper class Filipinos. 
On the north bank of the Pasig, near the 
center of the city, was located the Fili- 
pino White House, Malacaftan Palace, 
once the seat of Spanish and American 
governors-general. 

South of the Pasig, near the river's 
mouth, lay the old Spanish walled city, 
Intramuros, bordered on three sides by 
a filled moat that had been converted 
into a public park. Originally located 
on the bay front — construction of the 
interior stone citadel, Fort Santiago, was 
begun in 1590 — Intramuros, in 1945, 
was half a mile inland. Along its west 
wall the bay front was reclaimed for the 
construction of modern port facilities, 
including piers, warehousing, fuel stor- 
age, and machine shops. The advent of 
war interrupted development of a simi- 
lar port area north of the Pasig's mouth. 

Beyond Intramuros and the port area, 
much of Manila south of the Pasig was 
composed of modern residential districts, 
hospitals, government buildings, schools, 



apartment houses, and parks. In addi- 
tion, there was considerable industrial 
development along the south bank in 
the eastern part of the city. Southern 
Manila was developed almost entirely 
after the American occupation, most of 
it during the period between the two 
World Wars. The residential suburbs 
of Greater Manila sprang up largely in 
the '20's and '30's, their mushrooming 
growth cut short in December 1941. 

Most of Manila's streets were paved 
before the war, but many of them could 
not stand up under constant military 
traffic, and maintenance had fallen far 
behind during the Japanese occupation. 
North of the Pasig many streets were 
narrow, little better than alleys. There 
they radiated in all directions from cen- 
tral plazas, crossed each other at various 
angles, and ended abruptly to create 
streets along which fields of fire were 
limited to one or two blocks. Within the 
city limits one railroad and five vehicu- 
lar bridges crossed the Pasig, but the 
Japanese destroyed all of them in 1945. 
South of the river the city streets were 
generally broader and, even in Intra- 
muros, most were set at right angles. 2 

Types of construction within the city 
varied considerably. The flimsy houses 
of Tondo District were highly flammable, 
while the other residences north of the 
Pasig were either frame or a combina- 
tion of frame and stone or brick. The 
buildings of the business district were 
of reinforced concrete; the government 
buildings south of the river were con- 
structed to withstand earthquakes and, 
in appearance, were not unlike many of 
the government buildings in Washing- 

* Like the rivers throughout Luzon, the streets in 
Manila are subject to sudden name changes, appar- 
ently on the basis of long usage. 



240 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



ton, D.C. The outer walls of Intra- 
muros, up to forty feet thick at the bot- 
tom and in places reaching a height of 
twenty-five feet, were constructed of 
great stone blocks, and the buildings 
within the walls were constructed all or 
partially of stone. Many of the homes 
south of the river combined wood with 
brick, stucco, or cinder block, while the 
apartment houses were of reinforced 
concrete. 

Much of Manila remained relatively 
untouched by war until February 1945, 
although Japanese air raids in December 
1941 had wrought some damage in the 
port area and Intramuros. As they evac- 
uated the city, MacArthur's Fil-American 
troops undertook demolitions within the 
port area and fired fuel installations in 
the Paco, Pandacan, and Santa Ana in- 
dustrial districts lying along both sides 
of the river in the east-central part of 
the city. 3 The port area and railroad 
facilities were struck in late 1944 and in 
January 1945 by land-based planes of the 
Allied Air Forces and by carrier-based 
aircraft of Halsey's Third Fleet. But 
destruction caused by these air attacks 
was minor compared with that wrought 
during the fighting within Manila in 
February and March 1945. 

The Japanese Defenses 
The Background 

It was not Yamashita's intention to pre- 
side over the destruction of Manila. 4 

* See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, pp. 234-35. 

4 The general sources for the remainder of this 
chapter are: SWPA Hist Series, II, 452—63, and the 
sources cited therein, copies available in OCMH files; 
USA vs. Yamashita, Yamashita testimony, pp. 35SS- 
2 3> 35 2 7— z 8, S^sa— 33; ibid., Lt Gen Shizuo Yokoyama 
(CG Shimhu Gp) testimony, pp. 3673-73, 2681-86, 



Since he had decided to let the vital 
Central Plains-Manila Bay area go by 
default, the defense of Manila to him 
would be meaningless. He reasoned: 

First the population of Manila is approx- 
imately one million; therefore, it is impos- 
sible to feed them. The second reason is 
that the buildings are very inflammable. 
The third reason is that because [Manila] 
is on flat land it requires tremendous . . . 
strength to defend it. For these reasons my 
policy or plan was to leave Manila outside 
the combat zone. 8 

When, in December, Yamashita decided 
to evacuate troops and supplies from the 
city, he planned to leave behind a small 
Army force to maintain order, protect 
supply movements, and, ultimately, to 
blow bridges over the Pasig and Mari- 
kina Rivers in order to delay Allied oc- 
cupation of the entire metropolitan area 
and slow development of an Allied drive 
against the Shimbu Group, east of the 
city. The Japanese would hold the Pasig 
bridges only so long as the spans re- 
mained useful for supply movements— 
they had no plan for a last-ditch stand at 
the bridges. 

Yet, as the XIV Corps and nth Air- 
borne Division approached the city it 
became obvious that Manila was strongly 
defended. There had been a change in 
Japanese plans. 

The change reflected no reversal of 
Yamashita's policy. Rather, it mirrored 
a picture of disagreement and confusion 
existing among the lower-level headquar- 



2693; ibid., Muto testimony, pp. 3015—18, 3062; ibid., 
Col Hiroshi Hashimoto (CofS Manila Defense Force) 
testimony, pp. 31 13-17; 14th Area Army Opns Orders 
and Plans contained in Trans, III, Items 1 and 3; 
Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 125, Philippine Area 
Naval Opns, pt. IV, pp. 5-8; Asano Statement, States, 
I, 87-915; Hashimoto Statement, States I, 278-81. 
s USA vs. Yamashita, Yamashita testimony, p. 3527. 



MANILA: THE DEFENDERS AND THE DEFENSES 



241 



ters under Yamashita's nominal control, 
and especially between the Army and 
Navy echelons of his command. Con- 
trary to Yamashita's expressed desires, 
these conflicts led to a decision to give 
battle within the city — a development 
that was a cancerous growth on the 14th 
Area Army's plan for the defense of 
Luzon and that stemmed from a series 
of compromises among Japanese Army 
and Navy commanders in the Manila 
area. 

Until late December 1944 the protec- 
tion of Manila had been charged to Maj. 
Gen. Takashi Kobayashi's Manila De- 
fense Force, roughly equivalent to two 
RCT's in strength and armament. When, 
on 27 December, Yamashita organized 
the Shimbu Group for a final defensive 
stand in the mountain country east and 
northeast of Manila, he placed the city 
and the Manila Defense Force under 
General Yokoyama, Shimbu Group and 
8th Division commander. Since Yama- 
shita contemplated no defense of Manila, 
one of Yokoyama's principal missions 
was to oversee the evacuation of the city, 
and he directed General Kobayashi to 
speed the movement, which was already 
under way. Two Army units, responsi- 
ble for carrying out the evacuation and 
assigned demolitions, were to remain in 
and around the city for the nonce. The 
first was the Nogucht Detachment, two 
provisional infantry battalions and sup- 
porting troops under Col. Katsuzo 
Noguchi. Stationed within the northern 
part of the city and in the northern sub- 
urbs, the detachment was to withdraw 
eastward once it had knocked out the 
Pasig bridges. Another reinforced pro- 
visional infantry battalion under Capt. 
Saburo Abe was stationed south of the 
city and was responsible for blocking 



the southern approaches along the nar- 
row Hagonoy Isthmus, separating Manila 
Bay and Laguna de Bay. 

Throughout December and January, 
however, while Army units were pulling 
out of the city and environs, naval troops 
were moving in. As it had for Yamashita, 
the Allied move to Mindoro in Decem- 
ber had prompted a flurry of changes in 
plans by Vice Adm. Denshichi Okochi, 
the commander of the Southwestern Area 
Fleet and the ranking Japanese naval offi- 
cer in the Philippines. 6 Okochi, appar- 
ently on his own initiative, decided to 
strengthen the Navy's defenses of Manila 
and he assigned some 4,000 men to a 
new organization that he designated the 
Manila Naval Defense Force — not to be 
confused with General Kobayashi's Ma- 
nila Defense Force. To head the new 
force, Okochi called upon Admiral 
Iwabuchi, also the commander of the 
31st Naval Special Base Force, which al- 
ready had troops in and around Manila. 

Okochi planned to send the remainder 
of the large number of naval troops in 
and around Manila up to the Kembu 
area, but supply and transportation prob- 
lems forestalled completion of this move- 
ment. Thus, when he departed for 
Baguio with Yamashita early in January, 
Okochi left Admiral Iwabuchi in com- 
mand of a Manila Naval Defense Force 
that, with subsequent minor accretions, 



* Additional material on Japanese naval plans and 
depositions is from: USA vs. Yamashita, Okochi testi- 
mony, pp. 2546-47; Statement of Capt Masayoshi 
Koma, IJN (Staff South-west Area Fleet), States, II, 
293; Statement of Comdr Shigcichi Yamamoto (Staff 
Southwest Area Fleet), States, IV, 488; Statement of 
Lt Comdr Koichi Kayashima (Staff Manila Naval 
Defense Force and 31st Naval Special Base Force), 
States, II, 157-70; Statement of Col Shujiro Kobay- 
ashi (Staff Shimbu Group, not to be confused with 
General Kobayashi), States, II, 241. 



242 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



numbered nearly 16,000 naval troops. 
Iwabuchi's missions were to hold Nichols 
Field and the Cavite naval base area, 
mine Manila Bay, direct Navy suicide 
boat operations in the bay, arrange for 
the evacuation of ships and small craft 
of the 31st Naval Special Base Force, and, 
ultimately, assure the destruction of all 
Japanese naval installations and supplies 
in the Manila and Cavite areas. The 
program of demolitions Okochi directed 
Iwabuchi to undertake was far more ex- 
tensive than that assigned to the Army 
troops. 

When he left for Baguio, Admiral 
Okochi transferred the operational con- 
trol of the Manila Naval Defense Force 
to General Yokoyama and the Shimbu 
Group. But operational control under 
the principles of unity of command did 
not mean the same thing within the 
Japanese armed forces that it.did in the 
Allied services during World War II — it 
also did not mean the same thing to the 
Japanese Navy that it did to the Japa- 
nese Army. Thus, the control authority 
Okochi actually transferred was so lim- 
ited as to contain the seeds of many dis- 
agreements between General Yokoyama 
and Admiral Iwabuchi. When it came 
down to cases, the Shimbu Group would 
have complete operational control of the 
Manila Naval Defense Force only within 
an area plainly of primary Army interest 
and even then only after Iwabuchi's com- 
mand had successfully completed all the 
missions Okochi had assigned it. 

Manifestly, some of these missions in- 
volved operations on land — theoretically, 
on Luzon, the exclusive responsibility of 
the-Japanese Army. But to the Japanese 
Navy, the assignment of troops to the 
Army for operational control meant con- 
trol only for ground combat operations 



actually conducted under Army com- 
mand in an Army area. The fact that 
Admiral Iwabuchi could carry out his 
naval assignments while conducting 
ground combat operations as directed by 
the Shimbu Group did not alter the sit- 
uation. He would not withdraw his 
forces from Manila until he felt he had 
executed his naval missions, and, what- 
ever operations he might conduct under 
Shimbu Group directives, his prior naval 
orders would continue to take precedence 
over any directives General Yokoyama 
might issue. 7 

It was not until 6 January that the 
Shimbu Group commander learned that 
his operational control over the Manila 
Naval Defense Force would be limited 
to the degree implicit in the peculiarly 
naval missions assigned to Admiral 
Iwabuchi. And at the same time General 
Yokoyama was informed, to his evident 
surprise, that Iwabuchi had 16,000-odd 
naval troops in and around Manila. 
Yokoyama had based his plans for delay- 
ing action, bridge destruction, and supply 
evacuation on the assumption that there 
were no more than 4,000 naval troops in 
the area in addition to the approximately 
3,750 Army troops of the Noguchi De- 
tachment and the Abe Battalion. He 
considered these forces sufficient to carry 
out assigned missions and he could evac- 
uate that number from the city without 
undue trouble once Allied forces arrived, 
an event he estimated would occur no 
earlier than 20 February. 

General Yokoyama called a series of 
Manila Naval Defense Force-Shimbu 



7 For further analysis of this peculiar command 
situation, sec A. Frank Reel, The Case of General 
Yamashita (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 
'949). 



MANILA: THE DEFENDERS AND THE DEFENSES 



243 



Group staff conferences to discuss the 
obvious complications arising from Iwa- 
buchi's divided responsibilities and the 
size of the naval commitment. In the 
course of the discussions, which took 
place between 8 .md 13 January, naval 
officers made it. clear that, no matter what 
Shimbu Group's plans, it was the con- 
sensus of the naval staff that Manila 
should be defended to the bitter end. 
Any withdrawal from the city, naval rep- 
resentatives pointed out, would prevent 
the Manila Naval Defense Force from 
executing the missions Admiral Okochi 
had assigned it. Moreover, most, of the 
naval staff officers felt that Manila was a 
natural fortress that could easily be de- 
fended at great cost to Allied forces. 
Therefore, the naval staff was not anxious 
to abandon the city meekly without a 
struggle. In addition, many members of 
Iwabuchi's staff were dissatisfied with the 
positions in the mountains east of Manila 
that Yokoyama had assigned to the Ma- 
nila Naval Defense Force for a last stand. 
Admiral Iwabuchi just about settled all 
arguments when he pointed out that his 
force had "no alternative but to carry 
out its primary duty of defending naval 
facilities." 8 

Faced with the fait accompli of prior 
naval orders that he could not counter- 
mand, Yokoyama had little choice but to 
assent to Iwabuchi's general concept for 
the defense of Manila, however unwise 
he might feel that concept to be. And, in 
accordance with the practice in the 
Japanese and Allied services, he pro- 
vided for unified command within the 



8 The words are Colonel Asano's, repeating Iwa- 
buchi, and appear in Asano Statement, Statements, I, 
93, Yokoyama, in his testimony cited previously, 
makes essentially the same point. 



city, placing the Army troops still sta- 
tioned there under Admiral Iwabuchi as 
the senior officer on the spot — thereby 
making the best out of a bad situation. 
Extracting such concessions from the 
Manila Naval Defense Force as his lim- 
ited operational control powers permit- 
ted, the Shimbu Group commander 
persuaded Iwabuchi to organize a special 
naval force to defend the San Juan del 
Monte area, lying between the city and 
the Shimbu Group's main positions to 
the east. He further convinced Iwa- 
buchi of the necessity for strengthening 
the defenses at Fort McKinley, southeast 
of Manila, and of the wisdom of setting 
up an alternate headquarters there, pre- 
sumably in anticipation of ultimate 
withdrawal from the city. Expecting ex- 
isting communications between Manila 
and the Shimbu Group command post 
in the mountains to be severed once tne 
Allies reached the city, Yokoyama also 
saw to it that a secondary wire commu- 
nications net was established between 
his mountain headquarters and Fort 
McKinley. 

Not losing sight of his principal 
mission — protracted defensive operations 
in the mountainous terrain east and 
northeast of Manila — General Yokoyama, 
late in January, issued somewhat ambig- 
uous orders concerning the defense of 
the city and its immediate environs. The 
Shimbu Group, while concentrating its 
main force in its mountain strongholds, 
was to "firmly defend Manila and Fort 
McKinley and check their use by the 
enemy, at the same time destroying the 
enemy's fighting strength and preparing 
to counterattack the enemy rear from the 
main positions when a favorable situa- 
tion arises." The Manila Naval Defense 
Force, in turn, was directed to "defend 



244 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



its already-established positions and 
crush the enemy's fighting strength," 9 
Despite the seemingly definitive word- 
ing of these orders, an ambiguity arises 
from the fact that Yokoyama used the 
term koshu, usually rendered as "firm 
defense," in regard to the plans for hold- 
ing Manila. Quite weak as the wording 
of Japanese orders go, koshu by no means 
implied a fight to the death. Moreover, 
since Japanese Army orders did not lean 
toward understatement in such matters, 
the term seems indicative of a desire 
to conduct a rather limited holding ac- 
tion followed by an early withdrawal. 
Even Admiral Iwabuchi's operations of- 
ficer interpreted the use of koshu as 
meaning that Yokoyama would order a 
general withdrawal once battle had been 
joined within the city. 10 Apparently the 
fact that no specific mention of with- 
drawal was contained in the Shimbu 
Group orders merely reflected a reluc- 
tance on the part of Yokoyama to impair 
the morale of the troops in Manila — a 
regard for the sensibilities to which the 
Japanese forces were singularly addicted. 

Defensive Dispositions and Plans 

Iwabuchi's mainland area of responsi- 
bility extended inland from a point on 
Manila Bay about two and a half miles 
north of the city northeast to Novaliches, 
east to the Marikina River, south to 
Laguna de Bay's western shores, and then 
west across the Hagonoy Isthmus to the 
base of Cavite Peninsula. 11 The whole 

•The quotations are from SWPA Hist Series, II, 
458. 

10 Kayashima Statement, States, II, 170. 

"Additional information on Japanese strengths 
and dispositions presented in this subsection is from: 
ATIS SWPA, Enemy Publication No. 389, Organiza- 
tion Chart of Manila Navat Defense Force, 19 Sep 45, 



area covered an area of approximately 
250 square miles. To defend this zone 
Iwabuchi had under his command nearly 
17,000 troops— about 12,500 Navy per- 
sonnel and 4,500 Army troops. The re- 
maining 3,500 naval troops included in 
Iwabuchi's total of 16,000-odd naval per- 
sonnel the admiral had either left on 
islands in Manila Bay or had sent into 
the mountains east of Manila to join the 
main body of the Shimbu Group. Iwa- 
buchi assigned some 14,000 of the troops 
he controlled in and around Manila to 
three combat organizations for defensive 
operations. A fourth command con- 
tained forces nominally afloat but ac- 
tually based either on the city's water- 
front or on the bay islands; a fifth 
command was composed of engineers, 
supply troops, medical units, and so 
forth. Iwabuchi gave this fifth group the 
blanket title "attached units." 12 

Iwabuchi retained approximately 
10,000 troops within the Manila city 
limits, 8,000 of them members of the 
three combat commands. The northern- 
most combat command, labeled North- 
ern Force, was commanded by Colonel 
Noguchi, whom Iwabuchi made respon- 
sible for the defense of the entire city 
north of the Pasig, Intramuros south of 
the river, and the suburbs north, north- 
east, and east of Manila to the boundaries 
of the Manila Naval Defense Force. In 
addition to the 2d and 3d Provisional In- 
fantry Battalions and supporting Army 
troops of his own Noguchi Detachment, 



copy in OCMH files; XIV Corps. Japanese Defense of 
Cities as Exemplified by The Battle for Manila, p. 3; 
ibid., an. 2, Disposition Chart, and an. 4, Org Chart 
Kobayashi Gp; Entry 2, 0100 10 Feb 44, G-2 Jnl 1st 
Cav Div, giving information from a Japanese POW; 
11th A/B Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 13-14, 16, 29; ibid., 

Maps i, 9, and C. 

18 See app. D. 



MANILA: THE DEFENDERS AND THE DEFENSES 



245 



Noguchi had under his command the ist 
Independent Naval Battalion. His force 
totaled about 4,500 men in all. 

Posting small Army detachments along 
the northern approaches to Manila, 
Noguchi stationed the rst Independent 
Naval Battalion in the San Juan del 
Monte suburb, east of the city. One of 
his Army battalions held the Pasig River 
bridges; the other, with miscellaneous 
service units attached, set up defenses in 
Intramuros. General Yokoyama trans- 
ferred various Army shipping units, pre- 
viously forming part of the 3d Maritime 
Transport, Command, to Noguchi's con- 
trol; the colonel left these troops in the 
port areas north and south of the Pasig's 
mouth. 

The Central Force, commanded di- 
rectly by Admiral Iwabuchi and com- 
prising about 5,000 naval troops, held 
the remainder of Manila. Central Force's 
ist and 2d Naval Battalions were in de- 
fensive positions throughout the south- 
ern part of the city. Headquarters Sector 
Unit™ and the 5th Naval Battalion (the 
latter withdrew from Cavite on 2 Febru- 
ary after completing demolitions there) 
concentrated in the government build- 
ing, park, and private club area of Ermita 
District, east and south of Intramuros. 
Here Iwabuchi had his headquarters, 
protected by a Headquarters Battalion 
of 750 men. The Central Force was also 
responsible for holding Nielson Field 
and Makati, a suburb just southeast of 
the city, but had few troops stationed at. 
those places. 



"By the time he had completed his organization 
Iwabuchi was wearing four hats: }ist Naval Special 
Base Force, Manila Naval Defense Force, Central 
Force, and Headquarters Sector Unit, Apparently 
the staffs for all except the last were virtually 
identical. 



The Southern Force, over 5,000 men 
under Capt. Takusue Furuse, IJN, de- 
fended Nichols Field, Fort McKinley to 
the northeast of the airfield, and the 
Hagonoy Isthmus. Furuse stationed the 
3d and 4th Naval Battalions at Nichols 
Field and Fort McKinley and made the 
Army's Abe Battalion responsible for 
holding the Hagonoy Isthmus. Captain 
Abe's mission was to defend along Route 
1 and Route 59, the latter lying along 
the western shore of Laguna de Bay. 
With minor detachments to the south 
and a company at Paranaque, the bulk 
of the Abe Battalion was dug in at and 
near Mabato Point, on the Laguna de 
Bay shore across the isthmus from Para- 
naque. So disposed, the unit was hardly 
in position to execute all of its missions. 

Generally, the defenses on the south 
were stronger than those on the north, 
for two reasons. When General Koba- 
yashi's Manila Defense Force withdrew 
from the northern area it had left be- 
hind only the Noguchi Detachment to 
fill the void created by the evacuation. 
True, Kobayashi, his command now re- 
designated the Kobayashi Force, retained 
control of the }d Surface Raiding Base 
Force — another group of boat squadrons 
and base battalions like those stationed 
in the nth Airborne Division's area — 
but the 3,000-odd men of this unit were 
disposed about five miles northwest of 
Manila and had been cut off by the 37th 
Division. 

Second, Japanese naval headquarters 
on Luzon had believed that the principal 
Allied invasions would come from the 
south and had therefore long devoted its 
energies to preparing defenses on that 
side of Manila. It was, indeed, not until 
the last week in January that Iwabuchi 
seems to have learned of XIV Corps' 



246 



TRIUMPH TN THE PHILIPPINES 



progress, or at least until he attached 
any significance to that corps' drive down 
the Central Plains. By then, of course, 
it was too late for him to redeploy his 
forces. 

For the rest, Iwabuchi's plan for the 
defense of Manila was rather vague, 
promising only a suicidal fight to the 
death in place. By such a static defense 
he hoped to inflict heavy casualties upon 
Sixth Army and deny to the Allies for 
some time the facilities of Manila and 
Manila Bay. To help realize the latter 
objective, he planned extensive demo- 
litions that ostensibly called for the de- 
struction of purely military installations 
and whatever supplies were left in the 
city. "Military installations" or "mili- 
tary facilities" are loose terms at best, 
and for Iwabuchi they included the port, 
area, bridges, transportation facilities, 
the water supply system, and electric 
power installations. 

While the admiral apparently did not 
plan wholesale, wanton demolitions, even 
the destruction of the purely military 
installations would have its effect upon 
the civil population. Once started by a 
body of half-trained troops hastily or- 
ganized into provisional units and whose 
only future is death in combat, demoli- 
tions are impossible to control. Leaving 
aside this problem, it is obvious that a 
fire resulting from demolitions set oft in 
a supply dump will not necessarily obey 
"orders" to confine itself to the dump. 
Intent is one thing — the results of the 
performance another. 

The Means of Defense 

Tactically, Iwabuchi's defensive prep- 
arations left much to be desired. One 
line of defensive positions, while usually 



(but not always) containing mutually 
supporting strongpoints, did not neces- 
sarily give way to a second line of pre- 
pared positions; seldom were any two 
lines mutually supporting. Little provi- 
sion seems to have been made for routes 
of withdrawal from one line to another. 
The core of the defenses, if any existed, 
was Intramuros, the approaches to which 
were protected by a semicircle of forti- 
fied government buildings and schools 
extending from the General Post Office, 
on the south bank of the Pasig about 
three blocks off the northeast corner of 
Intramuros, around to the Army-Navy 
Club, on the bay front a few hundred 
yards south of the walled city. 

A prime characteristic of the defenses 
within the city was improvisation based 
upon the ready, man-made defenses of 
heavily reinforced concrete buildings. 
The Japanese fortified building entrances 
with sandbags; they set up barricades 
along corridors and stairways; they 
chopped firing slits for rifles and ma- 
chine guns through outside walls; they 
dug tunnels that connected the base- 
ments of various buildings or led to out- 
side pillboxes and bunkers. While the 
defenders constructed many bunkers and 
pillboxes throughout the city, they de- 
pended principally on the buildings, and 
most of the standard military defensive 
installations were located in the Southern 
Force's area of responsibility. 

The Manila Naval Defense Force bar- 
ricaded streets and intersections through- 
out the city with all types of obstacles: 
barbed-wire entanglements; oil drums 
filled with dirt or cement; rails set into 
the pavement; hastily dug ditches; trol- 
ley cars, trucks, and automobiles; even 
heavy factory machinery wrenched from 
interior mountings. The defenders em- 



MANILA: THE DEFENDERS AND THE DEFENSES 



247 



ployed mines of every conceivable type 
and improvisation, including Japanese 
Navy beach mines and depth charges, 
artillery shells, aerial bombs, mortar 
shells, and standard Japanese Army 
antipersonnel and antitank mines. Most 
mine fields were poorly camouflaged and 
although the Japanese covered some 
with fire from prepared positions, they 
had established no pattern that tied one 
mine field into another or related a field 
to major defenses. 

Another outstanding characteristic of 
the Japanese defense preparations was 
the great number of automatic weapons, 
a number all out of proportion to the 
troop strength. The basic infantry wea- 
pon, the rifle, played a very secondary 
role, being used mainly for the protec- 
tion of the automatic weapons and for 
last-ditch personnel defense. The much 
publicized— but seldom encountered — 
Japanese sniper played no significant 
part. Indeed, after the battle XIV Corps 
reported: 

Despite frequent mention by our troops 
of "snipers," the sniper as a carefully placed 
individual rifleman specializing in long- 
range selective firing seldom made an ap- 
pearance (hardly any telescopic rifle sights 
were found in Manila) . 14 

On the other hand, the Japanese used 
various types of grenades with great 
abandon, especially in the defense of 
buildings. 

In preparing for extensive employ- 
ment of automatic weapons, the Manila 
Naval Defense Force had removed many 
such arms from ships sunk in the bay 
and from aircraft lying destroyed or 
damaged on the numerous outlying air- 



1,1 XIV Corps, Japanese Defense of Cities, p. 10. 




Japanese Barricade on Padre Bukgos 



fields. 15 Ordnance troops adapted these 
for ground use, and also set up for em- 
ployment against ground targets many of 
the antiaircraft weapons with which 
Manila and environs bristled before the 
Allies entered the city. The principal 
automatic weapons upon which the de- 
fenders set great store were the aircraft 
and antiaircraft 20-mm. and 25-mm. ma- 
chine cannon. They had also a few 40- 
mm. antiaircraft weapons, as well as 
innumerable infantry and antiaircraft 
machine guns of lesser caliber. Mortars 



lS Subsequent description of Japanese weapons is 
based largely upon: XIV Corps, Japanese Defense of 
Cities, pp. 10-13; 11th A/B Div Luzon Rpt, p. 29; 
WD Tech Manual, TM-E-go— 480, Handbook on 
Japanese Military Forces, 15 Sep 44, and changes 
thereto dated 1 Jan and i Jun 45. The XIV Corps 
and manual descriptions of calibers and model 
numbers of the arms encountered are not always in 
agreement. 



248 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



played a large part in the defense; liter- 
ally hundreds of these weapons, varying 
from 50-mm. to 150-mm in caliber, were 
available to Iwabuchi's men. 

The basic heavy artillery weapon was 
the Japanese Navy's dual-purpose 120- 
mm. gun. The Manila Naval Defense 
Force emplaced over fifty of these wea- 
pons in and around the city, most of 
them in the Nichols Field-Fort McKinley 
area. In addition, the Japanese had 
some 76.2-mm, dual-purpose guns, a few 
Army 75-mm. antiaircraft weapons 
adapted for ground fire, a scattering of 
75-mm. Army field artillery pieces, and 
some Army 47-mm. antitank guns. 
Finally, for the first time during the war 
in the Pacific, the Japanese employed 
rockets to an appreciable extent. Most 
of those available to the Manila Naval 
Defensive Force were 200-mm. Navy 
rockets, but the force also possessed some 
200-mm. Army rockets and a few Navy 
450-mm. giants. 

Practically none of Iwabuchi's troops 
had any unit training in ground combat 
operations and many had very little indi 
vidual infantry training. The proficiency 
of men assigned to crew-served weapons 



usually left much to be desired. Perhaps 
the best units were the Army provisional 
infantry battalions, many members of 
which were infantry or other ground 
force replacements stranded in Manila. 
But few of these men were first line, and 
the vast majority of even the Army per- 
sonnel were members of the service 
branches. 

Naval units were in even worse state. 
The only troops among them having any 
semblance of ground combat training 
were the few members of the ground de- 
fense sections of the jist Naval Special 
Base Force. For the rest, the naval troops 
were aircraft maintenance men, airfield 
engineers, crews from ships sunk in the 
bay, casuals, other service personnel of 
all types, and even some Japanese 
civilians pressed into uniform. 

Admiral Iwabuchi had time neither to 
train his troops nor to complete defensive 
preparations. Even so, his defenses were 
strong and, although held by inferior 
troops, could prove formidable when 
manned by men with little thought of 
escape. He defended Manila with what 
he had, and what he had was sufficient to 
cause XIV Corps great trouble. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Isolating the Battlefield 



The Concept of the Attack 

When XIV Corps reached Manila on 
3 February, no definite Allied plan 
existed for operations in the metropoli- 
tan area other than the division of the 
northern part of the city into offensive 
zones. Every command in the theater, 
from MacArthur's headquarters on 
down, hoped — if it did not actually 
anticipate — that the city could be cleared 
quickly and without much damage. 
GHQ SWPA had even laid plans for a 
great victory parade, a la Champs Elysees, 
that trie theater commander in person 
was to lead through the city. 1 

Intelligence concerning Manila and 
its environs had been pretty meager, and 
it was not until the last week or so of 
January that GHQ SWPA and Sixth 
Army began to receive definite reports 
that the Japanese planned to hold the 
city, although General Krueger had felt 



1 A host of documents concerning the parade are 
to be found in the files of all levels of the command. 
See, inter alia: Memo, Asst ACofS G-3 Sixth Army 
for ACofS G-3 Sixth Army, 1 Feb 45, Sixth Army 
G-g Jnl File Luzon, 31 Jan-2 Feb 45; Memo, ACofS 
G-3 XIV Corps for CofS XIV Corps, 4 Feb 45, sub: 
Notes Taken at Conf at GHQ 4 Feb 45, XIV Corps 
G-3 Jnl File, s-4 Feb 45; Rad, Sixth Army to I, XI, 
and XIV Corps, WG-53, 5 Feb 45, Sixth Army G-3 
Jnl File Luzon, 4-6 Feb 45; 40th Inf Div, Memo for 
Components, 6 Feb 45, sub: Manila Victory Parade, 
108th Inf S-3 Jnl File, 6-9 Feb 45. 



as early as the middle of the month that 
the capital would be strongly defended. 2 
The late January reports, often contra- 
dicting previous information that had 
been supplied principally by guerrillas, 
were usually so contradictory within 
themselves as to be useless as a basis for 
tactical planning. Thus, much of the 
initial fighting was shadowboxing, with 
American troops expecting to come upon 
the main body of the Japanese around 
each street corner. Only when the troops 
actually closed with the principal strong- 
points did they discover where the main 
defenses were. When XIV Corps began 
to learn of the extent and nature of the 
defenses, the plans for a big victory 
parade were quietly laid aside — the pa- 
rade never came off. The corps and its 
divisions thereupon began developing 
tactical plans on the spot as the situation 
dictated. 

In an effort to protect the city and its 
civilians, GHQ SWPA and Sixth Army 
at first placed stringent restrictions upon 
artillery support fires and even tighter 
restrictions upon air support operations. 
The Allied Air Forces flew only a very 
few strikes against targets within the city 



1 Subsequent material on Manila planning prob- 
lems is based on: XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 
86-87; Corps, Japanese Defense of Cities, pp. 13, 
19-22, 26. 



250 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



limits before General MacArthur for- 
bade such attacks, while artillery sup- 
port was confined to observed fire upon 
pinpointed targets such as Japanese gun 
emplacements. 

These two limitations were the only 
departures from orthodox tactics of city 
fighting. No new doctrines were used 
or developed — in the sense of "lessons 
learned," the troops again illustrated 
that established U.S. Army doctrine was 
sound. Most troops engaged had had 
some training in city fighting, and for 
combat in Manila the main problem was 
to adapt the mind accustomed to jungle 
warfare to the special conditions of city 
operations. The adjustment was made 
rapidly and completely at the sound of 
the first shot fired from a building within 
the city. 

The necessity for quickly securing the 
city's water supply facilities and electri- 
cal power installations had considerable 
influence on tactical planning. 3 Consid- 
ering the sanitation problems posed by 
the presence of nearly a million civilians 
in the metropolitan area, General 
Krueger had good reason to be especially 
concerned about Manila's water supply. 
Some eighty artesian or deep wells in 
the city and its suburbs could provide 
some water, but, even assuming that 
these wells were not contaminated and 
that pumping equipment would be 
found intact, they could meet require- 



3 The remainder of this section is based principally 
upon: Sixth Army.Rpt Luzon, I, 36; Memo, Engr 
Sixth Army for CofS Sixth Army, 4 Feb 45, Sixth 
Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 2-4 Feb 45; Rad, Sixth 
Army to XIV -Corps, WG-40, 5 Feb 415, and Teletype 
Msg. Sixth Army to XIV Corps, 6 Feb 45, both in 
Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 4-6 Feb 45; XIV 
Corps FO 6, 7 Feb 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 
8-10 Feb 45. 



ments for only two weeks. Therefore, 
Krueger directed General Griswold to 
seize the principal close-in features of 
the city's modern pressure system as 
rapidly as possible. 

Establishing priorities for the capture 
of individual installations, Sixth Army 
ordered XIV Corps to secure first Nova- 
liches Dam, at the southern end of a 
large, man-made lake in rising, open 
ground about two and a half miles east 
of the town of Novaliches, \(See Map V.) | 
Second came the Balara Water Filters, 
about five miles northeast of Manila's 
easternmost limits and almost seven miles 
east of Grace Park, | (See Map VL'j Third 
was the San Juan Reservoir, on high 
ground nearly two miles northeast of the 
city limits. Fourth were the pipelines 
connecting these installations and lead- 
ing from them into Manila. Ultimately, 
Sixth Army would secure other water 
supply facilities such as a dam on the 
Marikina River northeast of Manila, but 
not until it could release men for the job 
from Manila or other battlegrounds on 
Luzon. 

XIV Corps would secure portions of 
the electrical power system at the same 
time its troops were capturing the water 
supply facilities. During the Japanese 
occupation much of the power for Ma- 
nila's lights and transportation had come 
from hydroelectric plants far to the south 
and southeast in Laguna Province, for 
the Japanese had been unable to import 
sufficient coal to keep running a steam 
generator plant located within the city 
limits. It appeared that Laguna Prov- 
ince might be under Japanese control 
for some time to come, and it could be 
assumed that the hydroelectric plants 
and the transmission lines would be 
damaged. Therefore, Sixth Army di- 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



251 



rected XIV Corps to secure the steam 
power plant, which was situated near 
the center of the city on Provisor Island 
in the Pasig. 

XIV Corps was also to take two trans- 
mission substations as soon as possible. 
One was located in Makati suburb, on 
the south bank of the Pasig about a mile 
southeast of the city limits; the other 
was presumed to be on the north bank 
of the river in the extreme eastern sec- 
tion of the city. It is interesting com- 
mentary on the state of mapping, 
considering the number of years that 
the United States had been in the Phil- 
ippines, that the second substation turned 
out to be a bill collecting office of the 
Manila Electric Company, 

Operations North of the Pasig 
Clearing the City North of the River 

Plans for securing the water and elec- 
tric installations were far from the minds 
of the men of the ad Squadron, 8th Cav- 
alry, as they moved into Manila on the 
evening of 3 February. 4 Their imme- 
diate mission was to free the civilian 
internees at Santo Tomas University; 
further planning would have to wait 
until the cavalrymen could ascertain 
what the morrow would bring. 



* The general sources for 1st Cavalry Division oper- 
ations covered in this chapter arc: 1st Cav Div Rpt 
Luzon, Narrative, pp. 4-14; Wright, ist Cavalry Divi- 
sion in World War II, pp. 130-33; 1st Cav Div G-3 
Jnl, 3-12 Feb 45; 1st Cav Div G-3 Opns Rpts, 3-12 
Feb 45; 1st Cav Brig Rpt Luzon, pt. I, Narrative, 
pp. 1—4; 1st Cav Brig Unit Jnl, 3—12 Feb 45; 1st Cav 
Brig S-3 Per Rpts, 3-12 Feb 45; 2d Cav Brig Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 4-7; 2d Cav Brig S-3 Opns Rpts, 3-12 Feb 
45; 2d Cav Brig Jnl File, 3-12 Feb 45; 44th Tank Bij 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 7-11; 44th Tank Bn S-3 Per Rpts, 
3—12 Feb 45; 44th Tank Bn S— 2/S— 3 Jnl, 3-12 Feb 45. 




Liberated Internees at Santo 
Tomas, 6 February 



Upon their arrival at Santo Tomas, 
the advance elements of the 8th Cav- 
alry, 5 a medium of the 44th Tank Bat- 
talion serving as a battering ram, broke 
through the gates of the campus wall. 
Inside, the Japanese Army guards — -most 
of them Formosans — put up little fight 
and within a few minutes some 3,500 
internees were liberated amid scenes of 
pathos and joy none of the participating 
American troops will ever forget. But 
in another building away from the in- 
ternees' main quarters some sixty Japa- 



1 Additional information on the 8th Cavalry opera- 
tions is from: 8th Cav Rpt Luzon, Manila Phase, 
pp. 1—2; ibid., Novaliches Water Shed Phase, pp. 1—2; 
8th Cav S-2/S-3 Jnl, 3-20 Feb 45; 8th Cav Unit Per 
Opns Rpts, 3-20 Feb 45. 



252 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



nese under Lt. Col. Toshio Hayashi, the 
camp commander, held as hostages an- 
other 275 internees, mostly women and 
children. Hayashi demanded a guaran- 
tee for safe conduct from the ground for 
himself and his men before he would 
release the internees. General Chase, 
who had come into the university cam- 
pus about an hour after the 8th Cavalry 
entered, had to accept the Japanese 
conditions. 8 

While the release of the internees was 
in progress, elements of the 8 th Cavalry 
had received a bitter introduction to 
city fighting. Troop G had continued 
southward from Santo Tomas toward 
the Pasig River and, after an uneventful 
advance of about six blocks, came upon 
the intersection of Quezon Boulevard — 
its route of advance — and Azcarraga 
Street, running east and west. The great 
stone bulk of Old Bilibid Prison loomed 
up on the right; on the left rose the 
modern, three-story concrete buildings 
of Far Eastern University. The prison 
seemed deserted, but as the troopers 
came on down Quezon they were sub- 
jected to a veritable hail of machine gun 
and rifle fire from the university build- 
ings and a few rounds of 47-mm. gun fire 
from an emplacement at the northeast 
corner of the intersection. 

When drivers tried to turn vehicles 
around to beat a hasty retreat, other 
groups of the regiment began jamming 
Quezon Boulevard to the rear. Chaos 
was narrowly averted but the entire col- 
umn, again guided by guerrillas, got 
safely back to Santo Tomas where, by 



" Negotiations between Chase and Hayashi actually 
took place on the 4th, and it was not until morning 
of the 5th that Hayashi and his men left, releasing 
their hostages. 



2330, the squadron (less Troop F) and 
the ad Squadron, 5th Cavalry, had as- 
sembled. Troop F, 8th Cavalry, had 
moved along side streets and secured 
Malacanan Palace, on the Pasig a mile 
southeast of the university. 

The next morning General Chase 
learned that the Japanese had knocked 
out the Novaliches bridge, cutting his 
line of communications and delaying the 
arrival of reinforcements for some twen- 
ty-four hours. The force he had under 
his control was too small to attempt 
much more than local patrolling, for he 
had, as yet, no definite information 
about Japanese defenses and none about 
the progress of the 37th Division. His 
situation was rather precarious for these 
twenty-four hours. Had Colonel Nogu- 
chi's Northern Force counterattacked, 
Chase would have had to withstand a 
siege at Santo Tomas or abandon the 
internees in order to fight his way out 
of an encirclement. Either course would 
probably have led to heavy lossest But 
Noguchi, not expecting the Americans 
to arrive for another two weeks, was 
unprepared. He found it impossible to 
carry out all his assigned missions and 
he was unable to withdraw all his forces 
in accordance with plans, let alone 
mount any strong counterattacks. 

Late on the afternoon of 4 February 
General Mudge directed General Chase 
to seize Quezon Bridge, located at the 
foot of Quezon Boulevard a mile south 
of Santo Tomas. According to the spotty 
information then available, this was the 
only crossing over the Pasig that the 
Japanese had not yet destroyed. Chase 
assigned the task to part of the zd Squad- 
ron, 5th Cavalry. The Japanese opposed 
the squadron with fire from Far Eastern 
University again and stopped the Ameri- 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



253 




can column at a formidable roadblock 
on Quezon Boulevard just south of 
Azcarraga Street. Here the Japanese had 
laid a small mine field in the pavement 
and had driven rows of steel rails into 
the roadbed. A line of truck bodies, 
wired together, also blocked passage. The 
roadblock contained four machine gun 
positions, and other machine guns cov- 
ered it from emplacements on the 
grounds of Far Eastern University and 
from another intersection a block to the 
east. The 5th Cavalry's group, like the 
force from the 8th Cavalry the night 
before, had to withdraw under fire. The 



cavalrymen were unable to seize their 
objective and, during the attempt, 
Noguchi's troops blew the bridge. 7 

By the time the 5 th Cavalry squadron 
had returned to Santo Tomas, the situa- 
tion within Manila had begun to look 
brighter, for the 37th Division's van 
units had entered the city and estab- 
lished contact with the cavalrymen at 



* Additional information on the gth Cavalry's 
participation in this and other actions covered in this 
chapter is from: 5th Cav Rpt Luzon, pp. 5-27; ibid., 
an. 4, Casualties; 5 th Cav S— 3 Per Rpts, g— 12 Feb 45; 
5 th Cav S— 2/S— 3 Jnl, 3—1? Feb 45. 



254 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



the university. 8 Marching into Manila, 
the 148th Infantry advanced southward 
through the Tondo and Santa Cruz Dis- 
tricts, west of Santo Tomas. 9 About 
2000 on the 4th the 2d Battalion reached 
the northwest corner of Old Bilibid 
Prison, only three short blocks from the 
5th Cavalry, which was just beginning 
its fight near the Quezon-Azcarraga in- 
tersection off the prison's southeastern 
corner. Busy with their Fights at Far 
Eastern University, neither the 2d Squad- 
ron, 5th Cavalry, nor the 2d Squadron, 
8th Cavalry, had attempted to get into 
the prison, but the 2d Battalion, 148th 
Infantry, broke in and discovered ap- 
proximately 800 Allied and American 
prisoners of war and 530 civilian intern- 
ees inside. Since there was no better 
place for them to go at the time both 
prisoners and internees remained in the 
prison, happy enough for the moment 
that they were in American hands once 
again. 10 Fighting raged around Bilibid 
through much of the night, but the 2d 
Battalion, 148th Infantry, and the 2d 



8 General sources for 37th Division operations cov- 
ered in this chapter are: 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 
37-77! 37 lh Dlv f»-3 Per Rpts, 4-12 Feb 45; 37th Div 
G-3 Jnls and Jnl Files, 4-12 Feb 45. 

'Additional information on 148th Infantry action 
is from: 148th Inf Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 5—9; 148th Inf 
S_i and S-3 Per Rpts, 4-13 Feb 45; 148th Inf S-g Jnl, 
4-12 Feb 45. 

10 Chase Comments, 3 Dec 56; Beightler Comments, 
18 Mar 57; Halsema Comments, Mar 57. According 
to General Chase the probable reason that none of 
his troops had discovered the prisoners was that no 
one had the slightest inkling they were in Old Bilibid. 
On 5 February the 37th Division had to remove both 
prisoners and internees from the prison to temporary 
quarters at Grace Park when fire threatened the area 
and it appeared that the Japanese might be forming 
a counterattack. The prisoners and civilians de- 
parted so hurriedly that they had to leave their few 
pitiful belongings behind — when they returned a 
few days later looters had stolen almost everything. 



Squadron, 5th Cavalry, did not estab- 
lish contact with each other. At least 
the infantry knew the cavalry was in 
the vicinity — for the rest, the danger of 
shooting friendly troops kept both units 
channeled along single routes of advance 
during the night. 

On 5 February, as the remainder of 
the 37th Division began moving rapidly 
into Manila, General Griswold more 
equitably divided the northern part of 
the city, giving the western half to the 
37th Division and the eastern to the 
1st Cavalry Division. 11 That morning 
the 145th Infantry, 37th Division, began 
clearing the densely populated Tondo 
District along the bay front. 12 By the 
afternoon of 6 February the battalion 
assigned to this task had reduced Japa- 
nese resistance to a pocket of some 200 
men (and at least one 75-mm. artillery 
piece) holed up in the extreme north- 
western corner of the district. The 
i45th's unit launched a final assault 
against the pocket on 8 February, an 
assault that cost the life of the battalion 
commander, Lt. Col. George T. Cole- 
man. By the time the American battal- 
ion had finished mopping up on the 9th, 
it had suffered more casualties, and 37th 
Division artillery and the M7's of Can- 



11 XIV Corps changed the boundary within the city 
three times between 1820 4 February and 2310 5 Feb- 
ruary; it is the last change that is described above. 
Entry timed i8zo 4 Feb 45, XIV Corps G-g Jnl, 4 Feb 
45; Rads, XIV Corps to 37th Div and 1st Cav Div, 
0215 and 2310 5 Feb 45, XIV Corps G-g Jnl File, 
5 Feb 45. Additional information on Griswold's 
command decisions during the battle is from: XIV 
Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 89-113; XIV Corps, 
Japanese Defense of Cities, pp. 2, 10, 13-14, 19-23. 

"Additional sources for 145th Infantry action are: 
145th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 16-19; M5th Inf S-g Per 
Rpts, 4-12 Feb 45; 145th Inf S-i and S-3 Jnls, 5-12 
Feb 45. 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



255 



non Company, 145th Infantry, had 
wrought considerable destruction to the 
lower class residential district and to 
some industrial buildings and stores. 13 

Further south other elements of the 
145th Infantry, passing through Tondo 
District, reached San Nicolas and Bi- 
nondo Districts along the western 
stretches of the Pasig River's north bank 
by evening on 5 February. To the left 
(east) the 148th Infantry had likewise 
continued toward the river, cleaning out 
machine gun nests and a few riflemen 
from business buildings in the eastern 
section of Binondo District and on east- 
ward into Santa Cruz District. 14 -The 
regiment hoped to seize the two western- 
most vehicular bridges over the Pasig — 
Jones and Santa Cruz Bridges — and by 
1600 on the 5th was within 200 yards of 
them. Then, as forward patrols reported 
that the bridges had just been blown, a 
general conflagration began to drive all 
troops of both the 145th and the 148th 
Infantry Regiments back from the river. 

Throughout the 5th the 37th Divi- 
sion's men had heard and observed Japa- 
nese demolitions in the area along and 
just north of the Pasig in the Binondo 



1S While most of the information concerning artil- 
lery support of 37th Division operations in Manila 
(in both this and the next chapter) comes from the 
infantry regimental sources cited previously or subse- 
quently, the following were also employed: 37th Div 
Arty Rpt Luzon, pp. 9-10; ibid., an. 5, Manila Over- 
lays; 135th FA Bn Rpt Luzon, pp. 14-15; 135th FA 
Bn Unit Jnl, 5-23 Feb 45; 140th FA Bn Unit Jnl, 5-33 
Feb 45; 6th FA Bn Rpt Luzon, 4 Feb-3 Mar 45 > PP- 
3-3; Daily S-3 Per Rpts of the 6th, 135th, 136th, and 
140th FA Ens and the 637th TD Bn, 4-23 Feb 45, 
copies in 37th Div G-3 Jnl Files, 4-24 Feb 45. 

14 2d Lt. Robert M. Viale, a platoon leader of Com- 
pany K, 148th Infantry, was posthumously awarded 
the Medal of Honor for heroic action during the 
regiment's advance southward through Manila. Viale 
was the first of four men of the 37th Division, all 
from the 148th, to win Medals of Honor in Manila. 



and San Nicolas Districts as well as in 
the North Port Area, on the i45th's right 
front. The Northern Force was firing 
and blowing up military stores and in- 
stallations all through the area and, as 
these tasks were completed, was with- 
drawing south across the river. Insofar 
as XIV Corps observers could ascertain, 
there was no wanton destruction, and in 
all probability the fires resulting from 
the demolitions would have been con- 
fined to the North Port Area and the 
river banks had not an unseasonable 
change in the wind about 2030 driven 
the flames north and west. 15 The 37 th 
Division, fearing that the flames would 
spread into residential districts, gathered 
all available demolitions and started de- 
stroying frame buildings in the path of 
the fire. The extent of these demolitions 
cannot be ascertained — although it is 
known that the work of destruction con- 
tinued for nearly twenty-four hours— 
and is an academic point at best since 
the demolitions proved largely ineffec- 
tual in stopping the spread of the flames. 
The conflagration ran north from the 
river to Azcarraga Street and across that 
thoroughfare into the North Port Area 
and Tondo District. The flames were 
finally brought under control late on 
6 February along the general line of 
Azcarraga Street, but only after the wind 
again changed direction. 

While the 37th Division was fighting 
the fires and clearing its sector of the 
city north of the river, additional ele- 
ments of the 1st Cavalry Division had 
been coming into the metropolitan area. 
From 5 through 7 February the 5th and 



" See, for example, Msg, Asst ACofS G-3 XIV Corps 
to ACofS G-3 Sixth Army. 1500 6 Feb 45, Sixth Army 
G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 4-6 Feb 45. 



256 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



8th Cavalry Regiments, their provisional 
task force organizations now dissolved, 
cleaned out the eastern section of the 
city north of the Pasig against very weak 
opposition. On the 7th the 37th Divi- 
sion took over this eastern portion of 
the city proper, 18 while the cavalrymen 
continued across the city limits to clear 
the suburbs east to the San Juan River, 
which, flowing generally south, joined 
the Pasig at the eastern corner of Manila. 
The cavalrymen encountered little op- 
position in the area as far as the San 
Juan, and had cleaned out the suburbs 
by evening on the 7th. 

Capturing the Water 
Supply Facilities 

Meanwhile, far to the north, the 7th 
Cavalry captured one of the important 
water supply installations, Novaliches 
Dam, 17 On 5 February, when troopers 
first reached the dam, they found no 
prepared demolitions, but they did inter- 
cept three Japanese who were carrying 
explosives toward the installation. The 
next day, against little resistance, the 
regiment secured the Balara Water Fil- 
ters, which were found undamaged but 
wired for demolitions. 

On 7 and 8 February the troopers 
patrolled southwest along the main water 
pipeline from the filters four miles to 
San Juan Reservoir, which they captured 
intact about 1530 on the 8th. Forty-five 
minutes later a Japanese artillery shell 
fired from high ground across the Mari- 



18 As directed by XIV Corps Opns Memo 15, 6 Feb 
45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 8-10 Feb 45. 

" Additional information on the 7th Cavalry oper- 
ations is from: 7th Cav Rpt Luzon, pp. 11-14; 7 tri 
Cav S-3 Per Rpts, 4-20 Feb 45; 7th Cav S-2/S-3 Jnl, 
4-20 Feb 45. 



kina River hit the reservoir's main out- 
let valve. Fortunately, damage was not 
so severe that the valve could not be 
worked by hand. For most of the rest 
of the period that it remained in the 
Manila area, the 7th Cavalry (the only 
major element of the 1st Cavalry Divi- 
sion not to fight within the city limits) 
continued to protect Novaliches Dam, 
the Balara Filters, and the pipelines 
connecting the two installations. 

The 8th Cavalry secured a water facil- 
ity still closer to Manila, but not before 
the regiment fought a pitched battle 
against the strongest resistance any troops 
of the 1st Cavalry Division encountered 
in the area north of the Pasig. Moving 
east across the San Juan River on 7 Feb- 
ruary, the 8th Cavalry pushed up to the 
northwest corner of New Manila Subdi- 
vision, where fire from the 1st Independ- 
ent Naval Battalion and a supporting 
heavy weapons detachment stopped the 
advance. The subdivision extended 
northeast to southwest three blocks 
(about 850 yards) and twelve blocks 
(roughly 1,500 yards) southeast to the 
northern edge of San Juan del Monte 
Subdivision. The Japanese had heavily 
mined the streets within New Manila; 
pierced rock walls along the streets with 
slits through which 20-mm, machine can- 
non could fire; turned many homes into 
machine gun nests; and, at the southern 
edge of the subdivision, emplaced three 
dual-purpose naval guns so as to cover 
much of the suburb with point-blank, 
flat-trajectory fire. 

On 8 February the 8th Cavalry at- 
tacked again, supported by a company 
of mediums from the 44th Tank Battal- 
ion and by the 61st (105-mm, howitzers) 
and 947th (155-mm. howitzers) Field 
Artillery Battalions. The 105*5 fired 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



257 



1,360 rounds of high explosive into New 
Manila and San Juan del Monte suburbs 
and the 155's added another 350 rounds 
of the same type of ammunition. While 
this support succeeded in knocking out 
many Japanese strongpoints — - and de- 
stroying many homes — it was inadequate 
to overcome all the opposition. The 
mine fields limited the effectiveness of 
tank support. The 8th Cavalry had to 
make short infantry rushes from one 
strongpoint to another to gain ground, 
but by the end of the day had substan- 
tially completed the reduction of the 
area. The task cost the 8th Cavalry 41 
men wounded; the 44th Tank Battalion 
11 men killed and 12 wounded. Three 
tanks were knocked out; one of them 
was completely demolished by a huge 
Japanese land mine. The 8th Cavalry and 
division artillery each claimed credit for 
all Japanese losses of men and materiel: 
the cavalry regiment averred it killed 
350 Japanese and captured or destroyed 
22 20-mm. machine cannon, 3 6-inch 
naval guns, and 5 13.2-mm. machine 
guns; the artillery's claims were the same 
350 Japanese killed, and 23 20-mm. ma- 
chine cannon, a 105-mm. howitzer, and 
a 6-inch naval gun destroyed. 18 Be that 
as it may, the cavalry cleared the rest 
of the suburban area northeast and east 
of the city during the next few days 
with little trouble. The rst Independ- 
ent Naval Battalion, apparently deciding 
that discretion was the better part of 
valor, started withdrawing eastward with 
its 800 remaining troops on 10 February. 



"Additional material on the operations of 1st 
Cavalry Division artillery in this and the next chapter 
is from: ist Cav Div Arty Rpt Luzon, pt. II, Chron 
Red, pp. 5-15; ibid., pt. Ill, Unit Jnl, 4-23 Feb 45; 
947th FA Bn Rpt Luzon, pt. II, Unit Jnl, 5-23 Feb 
45; ibid., pt. V, S-3 Work Sheets, 5-23 Feb 45. 



The unit left behind about 500 dead and 
all its heavy weapons. 19 

On 9 February the 8th Cavalry moved 
on from New Manila to San Juan del 
Monte and secured El Deposito, an 
underground reservoir fed by artesian 
wells and located about a mile southwest 
of San Juan Reservoir. Following the 
seizure of El Deposito, the last of the 
close-in water installations, the 8th Cav- 
alry continued south until it reached 
the north bank of the Pasig River at a 
point just east of the city limits. The 
5th Cavalry, which had been relieved in 
the center of the city by the 37th Divi- 
sion on 7 February, went south on the 
8th's left and, encountering only scat- 
tered opposition, reached the Pasig a 
mile east of the 8th Cavalry on the 
morning of 10 February. 

The 37th Division and the 1st Cavalry 
Division had accomplished much during 
the week ending 10 February. They had 
cleared all Manila and its suburbs north 
of the Pasig; pushed Colonel Noguchi's 
Northern Force either south Across the 
Pasig or east across the Marikina; cap- 
tured or destroyed almost all the North- 
ern Force's heavy support weapons; and 
secured intact the close-in water supply 
installations. The Northern Force, as a 
matter of fact, had made no concerted 
effort to hold northern Manila. Nogu- 
chi had executed his assigned demoli- 
tions and then withdrawn most of his 
troops south over the Pasig, destroying 
the bridges behind him. His ist Inde- 
pendent Naval Battalion had escaped to 

14 The Japanese battalion had started evacuating 
the San Juan del Monte-New Manila area on 6 Feb- 
ruary but had been ordered back into its defenses. 
It seems probable that the bulk of the unit was never 
engaged at New Manila and that before the battalion 
had reoccupied all of its positions it had begun its 
final withdrawal. 



258 



TRIUMPH TN THE PHILIPPINES 



the east. The two American divisions 
had killed perhaps 1,500 Japanese in 
the region north of the Pasig, but it 
appears that less than half of these were 
members of Noguchi's combat units — 
the majority were ill-armed service troops 
and stragglers. Despite the limitations 
placed on it, artillery fire, supplemented 
by tank and mortar fire, caused the vast 
bulk of the Japanese casualties north of 
the river. That infantry assault opera- 
tions accounted for relatively few Japa- 
nese is at least partially attested to by 
the fact that American casualties were 
not more than 50 men killed and 150 
wounded. 

Except for the fires that had raged out 
of control along the north bank of the 
Pasig, burning down or gutting many 
buildings, damage to the city had so far 
been limited largely to Japanese bridge 
destruction and to destruction resulting 
from American artillery and tank fire in 
the Tondo District and the New Manila 
and San Juan suburbs. The Americans 
had discovered few evidences of atroci- 
ties against the Filipino population 
north of the Pasig. It appeared that the 
rest of the battle might be fought ac- 
cording to the rules and that the city 
might yet escape with only superficial 
damage. 

To date operations had served prin- 
cipally as a "get acquainted session" for 
both the Japanese and Americans. Ad- 
miral Iwabuchi had learned that XIV 
Corps was in Manila to stay; General 
Griswold had learned that the task of 
securing the city and environs was not 
going to be as easy as anticipated. Final- 
ly, in clearing the northern portion of 
the metropolitan area, the troops of the 
37th Division and the 1st Cavalry Divi- 
sion had gained invaluable experience 



in city fighting that would serve them 
in good stead in operations south of the 
Pasig. Even as the 1st Cavalry Division 
was securing the water supply system, 
the 37th Division was putting this 
experience to the test. 

Across the River and 
Into the Buildings 

By the morning of 7 February two 
factors were prompting Griswold to head 
his troops across the Pasig. First, the 
1st Cavalry Division and the 37th Divi- 
sion had cleared the city proper north 
of the river except for the pocket in 
Tondo District, and Griswold foresaw 
that the cavalrymen were going to have 
little difficulty clearing the eastern sub- 
urbs and securing the water facilities. 
Second, late on the 6th, Krueger had 
directed XIV Corps to seize the Provisor 
Island generating plant forthwith. Ac- 
cordingly, on the morning of the 7th, 
Griswold ordered the 37th Division 
across the Pasig and assigned it most of 
the city proper south of the river. The 
1st Cavalry Division, when it finished 
its job in the northern suburbs, would 
also cross the river and then swing west- 
ward toward Manila Bay on the 37th 
Division's left. 20 

The 37th Division Crosses 

General Beightler, the 37th Division 
commander, ordered the 148th Infantry 
to make the assault across the Pasig. The 

M XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 89-go, 96-97; 
Teletype Msg, Sixth Army to XIV Corps, 6 Feb 45. 
Sixth Army G-s) Jnl File Luzon, 4-6 Feb 45; XIV 
Corps FO fi, 7 Feb 45; Msg, C-3 XIV Corps to 37th 
Inf Div and 1st Cav Div, 1205 7 Feb 45, XIV Corps 
G-3 Jnl File, 6-7 Feb 45: Beightler Comments, if! 
Mar 57. 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



259 



129th Infantry would follow the 148th 
and be followed in turn by the 1st Bat- 
talion, 145th Infantry, division reserve. 
The remainder of the 145th was to pro- 
tect the division's line of communica- 
tions north of Manila. Beightler turned 
the northern section of the city over to 
a provisional organization designated 
the Special Security Force, which con- 
tained the 637th Tank Destroyer Bat- 
talion, the 37th Cavalry Reconnaissance 
Troop, and Company A of the 754th 
Tank Battalion. 21 

Beightler directed the 148th Infantry 
to cross just east of Malacanan Palace 
and land on the south shore at Malacanan 
Gardens, a partially developed botanical 
park opposite the residency. Except at 
the gardens and at the mouths of esteros 
(small, canallike streams), sea walls — 
impassable to LVT's and unscalable 
from the assault boats in which the 
crossing was to be made — edged both 
river banks. The 37th Division had 
sufficient information to indicate that 
the gardens lay east of the principal Jap- 
anese concentrations in southern Manila 
and that most of the industrial Paco and 
Pandacan Districts in the eastern section 
of the city, south of the Pasig, might be 
lightly defended. The 148th Infantry 
would first clear the Paco and Pandacan 
Districts and then wheel southwest and 
west toward Intramuros and Manila Bay. 
The 129th Infantry, once on the south 
bank, would immediately swing west 
along the river to secure Provisor Island 
and the steam power plant. 22 

The 37th Division was to strike into 



11 37th Div FO a8, 7 Feb 45, 37th Div G-3 Jnl File, 
6—8 Feb 45. 

2S 37th Div FO 28, 7 Feb 45; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 43-48; Verbal Orders, CG 37th Div to CO 148th 
Inf. 1100 7 Feb 45, and 148th Inf Opns Memo 16, 



a sector held by the Central Force's 1st 
Naval Battalion, some 800 riflemen and 
machine gunners supported by various 
provisional heavy weapons units. The 
battalion was concentrated in the west- 
ern section of Paco District south from 
Provisor Island — half a mile west of 
Malacanan Gardens — generally along 
the line of the Estero de Paco, which 
extended south-southeast a little over a 
mile. One group from the battalion held 
a strongpoint east of the Estero de Paco 
at Paco Railroad Station, almost a mile 
south of the 148th Infantry's landing 
point and on the 37th-ist Cavalry Divi- 
sion boundary, here marked by the 
tracks of the Manila Railroad. 

In preparation for the assault the 673d 
Amphibian Tractor Battalion, which 
had accompanied the 37th Division 
south from Lingayen Gulf, assembled 
its LVT's behind the protection of an 
indentation in the north bank near the 
palace. The 117th Engineers, who had 
scrounged all the engineer assault boats 
they could from Manila back to San 
Fernando, gathered its craft at the same 
point, ready to co-operate with the 
LVT's in shuttling the 37th Division 
across the river. 

Behind a 105-mm. artillery barrage 
the 3d Battalion, 148th Infantry, began 
crossing in assault boats at 1515 on 7 
February. The first wave encountered 
no opposition, but, as the second crossed, 
intense machine gun, mortar, and artil- 
lery fire began to hit the river, the land- 
ing site, and the Malacanan Palace area. 
However, the 148th Infantry found only 
a few Japanese at the Malacanan Gar- 
dens and established its bridgehead with 

2100 7 Feb 45, both in 37th Div G-3 Jnl File, 6-8 Feb 
45; 129th Inf Unnumbered Opns Order, 7 Feb 45, 
129th Inf Opns Orders File. 



260 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



little difficulty. By 2000 two battalions 
were across the Pasig, holding an area 
stretching south from the river about 
300 yards along Cristobal Street to a 
bridge over the Estero de Concordia, 
northeast approximately 1,000 yards, and 
then back to the river along the west 
bank of an inlet. The crossing had cost 
the regiment about 15 men killed and 
100 wounded, almost all as the result of 
machine gun and mortar fire. Many of 
the casualties had actually occurred on 
the palace grounds, where the 148th In- 
fantry had its command post and where 
General Beightler had set up an ad- 
vanced headquarters. 23 

Between 8 and 10 February the 148th 
Infantry cleared Pandacan District with 
little trouble, but in the eastern section 
of Paco District had very great trouble 
reducing the Japanese strongpoint at 
Paco Railroad Station and the nearby 
buildings of Concordia College and Paco 
School. Support fires of the 1556th and 
140th Field Artillery Battalions nearly 
demolished the station and the school, 
but as of evening on 9 February the 
Japanese, originally over 250 strong, 
were still holding out, and the 148th In- 
fantry made plans for a final assault on 
the 10th. Happily, most of the surviving 
Japanese withdrew from the three build- 
ings during the night of g— 10 February, 
and the final attack was less bloody than 
had been anticipated. 24 

ss Beightler Comments, 18 Mar 57. According to 
General Beightler, General MacArthur had made a 
personal tour of the Malacafian Palace grounds 
during the morning of the 7th and had observed 
that it was so quiet in the area that XIV Corps could 
cross the river and clear all southern Manila with a 
platoon. 

M T. Sgt. Cleto Rodriguez and Pfc. John N. 
Reese, Jr., both of Company B, 148th Infantry, were 
awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic action during 
this fight, Reese's award being made posthumously. 



By late afternoon on 10 February the 
148th Infantry's left had moved a half 
mile beyond Paco Railroad Station and 
had gained the east bank of the Estero 
de Paco. The right flank elements had 
initially been held up by Japanese fire 
from Provisor Island, while in the cen- 
ter troops had had to fight their way 
through a lesser Japanese strongpoint 
at the Manila Gas Works, about a quar- 
ter of a mile south of the Pasig River, 25 
but by afternoon on the ioth the right 
and center were also up to the Estero de 
Paco. The last troops of the ist Naval 
Battalion east of the estero had either 
been killed or had withdrawn across the 
stream. As the 148th drew up along the 
estero, the volume of Japanese fire from 
the west increased sharply. Hard fight- 
ing seemed certain before the regiment 
could cross the water obstacle, and the 
regiment's operations south of the Pasig 
had already cost nearly 50 men killed 
and 450 wounded. 

Provisor Island 

As planned, the 129th Infantry crossed 
the Pasig on the afternoon of 8 February 
and swung west toward Provisor Island. 26 
One company attempted to cross the un- 
bridged Estero de Tonque to the east 
end of the island that evening, but Japa- 
nese rifle, machine gun, and mortar fire 
pinned the troops in place. The effort 
was called off in favor of an assault be- 
hind artillery support the next morning. 



as Pfc. Joseph J. Cicchetti was awarded, posthum- 
ously, the Medal of Honor for heroic action at the 
Gas Works on 9 February. Cicchetti was a member 
of Company A, 148th Infantry. 

™ Additional information on 129th Infantry action 
comes from; isgth Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 6-7; 139th 
Inf Hist 1810-1945, pp. 62-66; 129th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 
6-1 a Feb 45; 129th Inf Regtl Jnl, 8-12 Feb 45. 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



261 



Provisor Island, about 400 yards east 
to west and 125 yards north to south, 
was bordered on the north by the Pasig 
River, on the east by the Estero de 
Tonque, and on the south and west 
by the Estero Provisor. Five large build- 
ings and many smaller shedlike struc- 
tures covered almost every foot of the 
island's surface. Three of the large 
buildings were of concrete, the rest were 
frame structures sided and roofed with 
sheet metal. The Japanese garrison, 
probably members of the 1st Naval Bat- 
talion, fluctuated in strength, being rein- 
forced as the need arose by means of a 
bridge across the Estero Provisor on the 
west side of the island. Japanese fortifi- 
cations were of a hasty nature, most of 
them sandbagged machine gun emplace- 
ments within buildings or at entrances. 
From positions to the west, southwest, 
and south other Japanese forces could 
blanket the island with all types of sup- 
port fire. 

Following the scheduled artillery 
preparation, Company G, 129th Infan- 
try, moved up to the mouth of the 
Estero de Tonque at 0800 on g Febru- 
ary. The company planned to shuttle 
across the estero in two engineer assault 
boats to seize first a boiler plant at the 
northeast corner of the island. The first 
boat, eight men aboard, got across safely, 
but the second was hit and two men 
were killed; the survivors swam and 
waded to the island. By 0830 fifteen 
men of Company G had entered the 
boiler plant, only to be thrown out al- 
most immediately by a Japanese coun- 
terattack. They then took refuge behind 
a coal pile lying between the boiler 
house and the west bank of Estero de 
Tonque. 

Rifle and machine gun fire from the 



boiler plant and from the main power- 
house just to the south pinned the fif- 
teen down. The 129th Infantry was 
unable to reinforce them, for the Japa- 
nese had the Esteros Provisor and de 
Tonque covered with rifle, machine gun, 
and mortar fire. Immediate withdrawal 
proved equally impossible — two other 
men had already been killed in an at- 
tempt to swim back across the Estero 
de Tonque. 

With close support — so close that the 
fifteen survivors had to keep prone — 
from the 2d Battalion's mortars, Com- 
pany G's isolated group hung on for the 
rest of the day while the battalion made 
plans to evacuate them so that artillery 
could again strike the island. After dark 
Company G's commander, Capt. George 
West, swam across the Estero de Tonque 
dragging an engineer assault boat behind 
him. Although wounded, he shuttled 
his troops back to the east bank in the 
dim light of flames from burning build- 
ings on and south of the island. When 
a count was taken about midnight, Com- 
pany G totaled 17 casualties — 6 men 
killed, 5 wounded, and 6 missing — 
among the 18 men, including Captain 
West, who had reached Provisor Island 
during the previous eighteen hours. 

For the next hour or so the 37th Divi- 
sion's artillery and mortar fire blanketed 
the island as Company E prepared to 
send ninety men over the Estero de 
Tonque in six engineer assault boats. 
The fires had died down by the time the 
craft started across the stream at 0230, 
but the moon chose to come out from 
behind a cloud just as the first two boats 
reached shore safely. A hail of Japanese 
machine cannon and mortar fire sunk 
the next three boats while on the island 
a small fuel tank flared up to expose the 




Provisor Island, towtr Uji ernter 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



263 



men already ashore. Hugging the coal 
pile, Company E's troops remained 
pinned down until almost 0500, when 
the moon disappeared and the fuel fire 
burnt itself out. 

Quickly, the men dashed into the 
boiler plant. A macabre game of hide 
and seek went on around the machinery 
inside until dawn, by which time Com- 
pany E had gained possession of the east- 
ern half of the building. The Japanese 
still held the western half. 

On the 10th, Company E slowly 
cleaned out the rest of the boiler house, 
but every attempt to move outside 
brought down the fire of every Japanese 
weapon within range of Provisor Island 
— or so it seemed to the troops isolated 
in their industrial fortress. Therefore, 
Company E held what it had while divi- 
sion artillery and mortars pounded the 
western part of the island, as did tanks 
and tank destroyers from positions on 
the north bank of the Pasig. In the after- 
noon TD fire accidentally killed 2 men 
and wounded 5 others of Company E, 
which, through the day, also suffered 
7 men wounded from Japanese fire. 
During the night Company E sent an- 
other 10-man squad across the Estero 
de Tonque to reinforce the troops al- 
ready on the island. Artillery, tanks, 
tank destroyers, and 81-mm. mortars 
kept up a steady fire in preparation for 
still another attack the next morning. 

After dawn on the iith. Company E 
found that resistance had largely col- 
lapsed on the island and that as division 
artillery continued to pound known or 
suspected Japanese mortar and artillery 
positions to the south and west, the vol- 
ume of Japanese fire previously sent 
against the island had greatly dimin- 
ished. Searching cautiously and thor- 



oughly through the rubble of the now 
nearly demolished buildings of the 
power plant, Company E cleared all 
Provisor Island by midafternoon and se- 
cured a foothold on the mainland, west 
across Estero Provisor. 

The task of securing the island had 
cost the 2d Battalion, 129th Infantry, 
approximately 25 men killed and 75 
wounded. From one point of view the 
losses had been in vain. The Americans 
had hoped to secure the power plant 
intact, but even before troops had 
reached the island the Japanese had 
damaged some equipment, and what 
was left the Japanese and American artil- 
lery and mortars ruined. There was no 
chance that the plant would soon deliver 
electric power to Manila. 

The 1st Battalion, 129th Infantry, on 
the 2d Battalion's left, had been stalled 
until the 10th both by the Japanese fire 
supporting the Provisor Island garrison 
and by lesser Japanese strongpoints in 
an industrial area west of Cristobal 
Street. But by evening on the 10th, the 
1st Battalion had moved its left up to 
the Estero de Paco, abreast of the 148th 
Infantry, while its right had pushed on 
to the Estero de Tonque. These gains 
cost the 129th Infantry another 5 men 
killed and nearly 20 wounded. 

Lifting the Restrictions on 
Artillery Fire 

The artillery, mortar, tank, and tank 
destroyer fire that had destroyed the 
Provisor Island power plant and turned 
Paco Station, Paco School, and Con- 
cordia College into a shambles repre- 
sented a striking departure from the 
limitations placed upon support fires 
during the clearing of northern Manila 



264 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



and the eastern suburbs. For the 37th 
Division, at least, cancellation of the 
earlier limitations had become a neces- 
sity. For one thing, sufficient informa- 
tion had now become available from 
aerial observation, patrolling, and re- 
ports from civilians and guerrillas for 
XIV Corps's G-2 Section to conclude 
that the Japanese had turned almost 
every large building from Estero de 
Paco west to Manila Bay into a veritable 
fortress, far stronger even than the de- 
fenses already encountered south of the 
Pasig. 

In addition, the operations south of 
the river had forced the XIV Corps and 
the 37th Division to the reluctant deci- 
sion that all pretense at saving Manila's 
buildings would have to be given up — 
casualties were mounting at a much too 
alarming rate among the infantry units. 
The 148th Infantry had suffered 500-odd 
casualties (about 200 did not require 
hospitalization) from 7 through 10 Feb- 
ruary. The regiment was now nearly 
600 men understrength, and its rifle 
companies averaged about 50 men under- 
strength. Through the seizure of Pro- 
visor Island the 129th Infantry had 
incurred about 285 casualties — 35 killed, 
240 wounded, and 10 missing — and was 
nearly 700 men understrength. Com- 
pany G had only go effectives; Company 
E was little better off. The 148th Infan- 
try had apparently received only five 
replacements since 9 January; the 1 29th 
Infantry, none. 27 

The losses had manifestly been too 
heavy for the gains achieved. If the city 
were to be secured without the destruc- 
tion of the 37th and the 1st Cavalry 

ST This conclusion is based upon a thorough exam- 
ination of all relevant 37th Division, 129th Infantry, 
and 148th Infantry records. 



Divisions, no further effort could be 
made to save the buildings; everything 
holding up progress would be pounded, 
although artillery fire would not be di- 
rected against structures such as churches 
and hospitals that were known to con- 
tain civilians. Even this last restriction 
would not always be effective, for often 
it could not be learned until too late 
that a specific building held civilians, 28 
The lifting of the restrictions on support 
fires would result in turning much of 
southern Manila into a shambles; but 
there was no help for that if the city 
were to be secured in a reasonable length 
of time and with reasonable losses. Re- 
strictions on aerial bombardment, on the 
other hand, would remain in effect. 

The 1st Cavalry Division Crosses 

While the 37th Division was fighting 
its costly battle to clear Provisor Island 
and advance to the east bank of the 
Estero de Paco, the 1st Cavalry Division 
started across the Pasig and came up on 
the infantry's left. One troop of the 8th 
Cavalry crossed near the Philippine Rac- 
ing Club, just east of the city limits, 
during the evening of 9 February; the 
rest of the regiment was across the river 
at the same point by 0950 on the 10th. 
The cavalry encountered practically no 
opposition in the crossing area, but 
progressed slowly because the Japanese 
had thoroughly mined many of the 
streets south and west of the club. By 
dusk on the 10th the 8th Cavalry had 
secured a bridgehead about a thousand 
yards deep. Its right flank crossed the 
city limits into Santa Ana District and 
patrols established contact with 37th Di- 

M XIV Corps Luzon Rpt, pt. I, p. 93; 37th Div 
Luzon Rpt, pp. 51-53. 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



265 



vision troops along the division bound- 
ary near Paco Station; on its left (east) 
other patrols met men of the 5th Cavalry. 

Shuttling troops across the Pasig at 
the suburb of Makati, a mile east of the 
8th Cavalry's crossing site, the 5th Cav- 
alry got one squadron to the south bank 
of the river by 1500 on 10 February and 
secured the Makati electrical power sub- 
station. The troops met no ground op- 
position, but considerable machine gun 
and mortar fire, originating from the 
Fort McKinley area to the southeast, 
harassed them at the crossing area 
throughout the day. 

Dusk on 10 February found XIV 
Corps firmly established — with two sepa- 
rate bridgeheads — south of the Pasig. 
The 37th Division, in its drive to the 
Estero de Paco, had secured a quarter 
of the city proper south of the river; 
the 1st Cavalry Division had cleared 
some of the southern suburban areas 
and was ready to move on into the city 
on the 37th's left. Enough had been 
learned about the Japanese defenses 
for the corps' G-2 Section to conclude 
that the hardest fighting was still ahead 
— and not all of it necessarily within the 
city itself, for XIV Corps was about to 
become involved in the fighting south 
of the city previously conducted by the 
11th Airborne Division under Eighth 
Army control. 

XIV Corps' area of responsibility was 
enlarged on the 10th of February when 
the 1 1 th Airborne Division passed to its 
control, solving some problems and 
creating others. But the most immedi- 
ately significant feature of the passage 
of command was that — in concert with 
the 1st Cavalry Division's crossing of the 
Pasig — XIV Corps had an opportunity 
to cut the last routes of withdrawal and 



reinforcement available to the Manila 
Naval Defense Force in the metropolitan 
area. The corps planned that while the 
37th Division pushed on across the Es- 
tero de Paco, the 5th and 8th Cavalry 
Regiments would drive generally south- 
west toward Manila Bay and gain con- 
tact with the 1 1 th Airborne Division, 
thus effecting an encirclement of the 
city. 

Encircling the City 

The nth Airborne Division's 
Situation 

When the 11th Airborne Division had 
halted on 4 February at the Route 1 
bridge over the Paranaque River, three 
miles south of the Manila city limits, 
the major force opposing it was the 
Southern Force's 3d Naval Battalion, 
reinforced by a company of the 1st 
Naval Battalion and artillery units of 
varying armament. 29 In many ways the 
3d Naval Battalion positions were the 
strongest in the Manila area, having the 
virtue of being long established. Rein- 
forced concrete pillboxes abounded at 
street intersections in the suburban area 
south of the city limits, many of them 
covered with dirt long enough to have 
natural camouflage; others were care- 
fully concealed in clumps of trees. 
Northeast of Paranaque, Nichols Field 
— used by the Japanese Naval Air Serv- 
ice and defended by part of the ?rf 
Naval Battalion— literally bristled with 
antiaircraft defenses. Most of the gun 
positions were as well camouflaged as 
the generally flat terrain permitted, and 

"Japanese information in this section is based 
primarily upo n 11th A/B Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 16, 29; 
see also ahove fcri. XIII. | 



266 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



the emplacements, useful in themselves 
as fortifications, were supplemented by 
scattered bunkers and pillboxes housing 
machine gunners and supporting 
riflemen. 

As of 4 February the Japanese had 
few troops at Nielson Field, two miles 
north-northeast of Nichols Field, but 
the 4th Naval Battalion and heavy weap- 
ons attachments held Fort McKinley, 
two miles east of Nielson. Other Japanese 
troops manned a group of antiaircraft 
gun positions about midway between 
the Army post and Nichols Field, guns 
that could and did support the 3d Naval 
Battalion. 

On the morning of 5 February the 
11th Airborne Division's 511th Para- 
chute Tnfantry forced a crossing of the 
Paranaque and started north along 
Route 1 over a quarter-mile-wide strip 
of land lying between the river, on the 
east, and Manila Bay, on the west. 30 
During the next two days the regiment 
fought its way a, 000 yards northward 
house by house and pillbox by pillbox. 
Supported only by light artillery — and 
not much of that — the 511th depended 
heavily upon flame throwers, demoli- 
tions, and 60-mm. mortars in its ad- 
vance. In the two days it lost 6 men 
killed and 35 wounded, and killed about 
200 Japanese. 31 

On the 6th the 5 1 1 th Infantry halted 
to wait for the 188th Infantry (with the 

30 The general sources of information Concerning 
11th Airborne Division operations arc: Eighth Army 
Rpt Nasugbu-Rataan, pp. zz— ?8; Sixth Army Rpt 
Luzon, I, 38; XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 91-94; 
nth A/B Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 4-6; Flanagan, The 
Ange.U, pp. 8i— 88; nth A/B Div G-g Per Rpts, 4-23 
Feb 45; nth A/B Div Arty, Unit Hist, gi Jan— g Feb 
45, pp. 4-6; ibid., jo Feb-4 May 45, pp. 1-5. 

31 Additional information on fjiuh Infantry opera- 
tions is from: 1511th Inf S-i, S-a, and S-g Jnls, 4—25 
Feb 45; 511 th Inf S-i Casualty and Insp Rpts Luzon. 



1st Battalion, 187th Infantry, attached) 
to come north from Tagaytay Ridge and 
launch an attack toward Nichols Field, 
whence Japanese artillery fire had been 
falling on the Ruth's right. The divi- 
sion planned to send the 188th Infantry 
against the airfield from the south and 
southeast, while one battalion of the 
511th would attack from the west across 
the Paranaque River. Tn preparation 
for the effort, the reinforced 188th In- 
fantry moved up to a line of departure 
about a mile and a half southeast of 
Nichols Field under cover of darkness 
during the night of 6-7 February. 

The Attack on Nichols Field 

The 188th Infantry attack on 7 Feb- 
ruary was almost completely abortive in 
the face of concentrated artillery, mor- 
tar, and machine gun fire from the Japa- 
nese defenses on and around the air 
field. 32 On the west the 511th Infantry 
managed to get its right across the north- 
south stretch of the Paranaque to posi- 
tions near the southwest corner of Nichols 
Field, but there it stopped. During the 
next two days the 5 1 ith Infantry secured 
a narrow strip of land between the 
Paranaque River and the airfield's west- 
ern runway and overran some defenses 



32 Most of the 1 1 th Airborne Division's records were 
lost when the division moved to Japan at the end of 
the war or were destroyed in a fire at the division's 
headquarters building during the occupation. There- 
fore, it is impossible to reconstruct the details of the 
fighting for the Nichols Field area on and after 7 
February. Fragmentary information is available in: 
188th Inf Draft Hist Luzon, pp. 4-10; 188th Inf Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 4-8; 1st Bn 187th Inf Chron Narrative, 
26 Jan-24 Feb 45, pp. 4-7, nth A/B Div Camp 
Campbell Ky. collection; 187th Inf S-g Per Rpts, 
8-zg Feb 45; 187th Inf Chron Narrative Mike VI 
Opn, pp. 2-4; 2d Bn 187th Inf Chron Narrative 
Mike VI Opn, pp. g— 5. 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



267 



at the northwest corner of the field. The 
188th Infantry made contact with the 
51 ith at the southwest corner but could 
gain little ground on the south and 
southeast. On the ioth, its last day un- 
der Eighth Army control, the division 
consolidated its gains and established a 
solid line from the northwest corner 
around to the southwest corner of the 
field, eliminating the last Japanese re- 
sistance on the western side. Mean- 
while, elements of the 511th Infantry 
had continued up Route i nearly a mile 
beyond Nichols Field's northwest corner. 

Four days' effort had effected little 
reduction in the amount of Japanese 
fire originating from the Nichols Field 
defenses. Support fires of Mindoro-based 
A— 20's and the division's light artillery 
(75-mm. pack howitzers and the short 
105-mm. howitzers) had not destroyed 
enough Japanese weapons to permit the 
infantry to advance without taking un- 
duly heavy casualties. In fact, the vol- 
ume of fire from Japanese naval guns 
of various types was still so great that 
one infantry company commander re- 
quested: "Tell Halsey to stop looking 
for the Jap Fleet. It's dug in on Nichols 
Field." 33 The nth Airborne obviously 
needed heavier artillery support. 

For some days the division's situation 
had been a bit anomalous, especially in 
regard to co-ordination of its artillery 
with that of XIV Corps to the north. 
Sixth Army had directed XIV Corps not 
only to seize Manila but also to drive 
south to an objective line running from 
Cavite northeast across the Hagonoy 
Isthmus to Tagig on Laguna de Bay, 34 
The 1 ith Airborne Division had crossed 



Flanagan, The Angels, p. 85. 
Sixth Army FO 47, 2 Feb 45. 



this line as early as 6 February, and every 
step it took northward toward Manila 
increased the danger that XIV Corps 
Artillery might inadvertently shoot it up. 

The Sixth and Eighth Armies had 
both apparently made some effort to 
have General MacArthur establish a for- 
mal boundary south of Manila, but with 
no success. From the beginning GHQ 
SWPA had intended that the nth Air- 
borne Division would ultimately pass to 
Sixth Army control, and it appears that 
theater headquarters, anticipating an 
early contact between the 1 ith Airborne 
Division and the XIV Corps, saw no need 
to establish a formal boundary. In- 
stead, GHQ SWPA only awaited the con- 
tact to make sure Sixth Army could 
exercise effective control when the 
transfer was made. 

General Eichelberger had become in- 
creasingly worried as the uncertain sit- 
uation persisted. GHQ SWPA made no 
provision for direct communication be- 
tween Sixth and Eighth Armies until 7 
or 8 February, and until that time each 
Army had learned of the others' progress 
principally through GHQ SWPA chan- 
nels. 35 When direct communication be- 
gan, the 11th Airborne Division and the 
XIV Corps quickly co-ordinated artillery 
fire plans and established a limit of fire 
line to demark their support zones about 
midway between Nichols Field and the 
Manila city limits. Under the provisions 
of this plan XIV Corps Artillery fired 
sixteen 155-mm. and 8-inch howitzer 
concentrations in support of the air- 

" Eichelberger stated that he kept Krueger con- 
stantly informed of the 11th Airborne Division's 
progress by direct radio, but received no information 
from Sixth Army until 4 February. Eichelberger 
Comments, 21 Jan 57. On the other hand, the earliest 
message to Sixth Army that can he found in Eighth 
Army files is dated 5 February. 



268 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



borne division's attack at Nichols Field 
before the division passed to XIV Corps 
control about 1300 on 10 February. 36 

"Welcome to the XIV Corps," Gris 
wold radioed General Swing, simultane- 
ously dashing whatever hopes Swing may 
have had to continue north into Manila 
in accordance with Eichelberger' s earlier 
plans. For the time being, Griswold di- 
rected Swing, the 1 ith Airborne Division 
would continue to exert pressure against 
the Japanese at Nichols Field but would 
mount no general assault. Instead, the 
division would ascertain the extent and 
nature of the Japanese defenses at and 
east of the airfield and prepare to secure 
the Cavite naval base area, which the 
division had bypassed on its way north 
from Nasugbu. Further orders would be 
forthcoming once XIV Corps itself could 
learn more about the situation south of 
Manila. 37 

On 11 February the 511th Infantry 
attacked north along the bay front in its 
sector to Libertad Avenue, scarcely a 
mile short of the city limits, losing its 
commander, Colonel Haugen, during 
the day. Griswold then halted the ad- 
vance lest the 511th cut across the fronts 
of the 5th and 8th Cavalry Regiments, 
now heading directly toward the bay 
from the northeast, and upset artillery 



** The foregoing analysis of liaison problems is 
based on: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 38; ibid,, 111, 
68; XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 98; XIV Corps 
Arty Rpt Luzon, p. 11; Rad, G— 3 XIV Corps to G-3 
37th Div, 1225 8 Feb 45, 37th Div G-3 Jnl File, 6-8 
Feb 45; Rad, Eichelbcrgcr to MacArthur, 0900 3 Feb 
45; Rad, Eichelberger to MacArthur, 1130 5 Feb 45; 
Rad, Eichelberger to Krueger, 1130 5 Feb 45; Rad, 
Eichelberger to MacArthur, iao8 7 Feb 45; Rad, 
Krueger to Eichelberger, WG-139, 8 Feb 45. Last 
five in Eighth Army G-3 Jnl File Mike VI, £-19 Feb 
45. Eichelberger Comments, 21 Jan 57. 

"Rad, Griswold to Swing, 10 Feb 45, XIV Corps 
G— 3 Jnl File, 10 Feb 45. 



support plans. 38 Meanwhile, in a series 
of patrol actions, the 187th Infantry had 
secured the southeast corner and the 
southern runway of Nichols Field. Gris- 
wold authorized the 1 ith Airborne Divi- 
sion to mount a concerted attack against 
the field on the 12th. 

The attack was preceded by artillery 
and mortar concentrations and by an air 
strike executed by Marine Corps SBD's 
from the Lingayen Gulf fields, support 
that succeeded in knocking out many 
Japanese artillery positions. The ad 
Battalion, 187th Infantry, attacked gen- 
erally east from the northwest corner of 
the field; the 188th Infantry and the 1st 
Battalion, 187th Infantry, drove in from 
the south and southeast. By dusk the 
two regiments had cleared most of the 
field and finished mopping up the next 
day. The field was, however, by no 
means ready to receive Allied Air Force 
planes. Runways and taxiways were 
heavily mined, the runways were pitted 
by air and artillery bombardments, and 
the field was still subjected to intermit- 
tent artillery and mortar fire from the 
Fort McKinley area. 

With the seizure of Nichols Field, the 
11th Airborne Division substantially 
completed its share in the battle for 
Manila. Since its landing at Nasugbu 
the division had suffered over 900 casu- 
alties. Of this number the 5J ith Infantry 
lost approximately 70 men killed and 
240 wounded; the 187th and 188th In- 
fantry Regiments had together lost about 



M Rad, XIV Corps to nth A/B Div, 37th Div, 1st 
Cav Div, and XIV Corps Arty, 11 Feb 45, XIV Corps 
G-3 Jnl File, 11 Feb 45. This radio also established 
a formal boundary between the 11th Airborne and 
1st Cavalry Divisions, running east along Libertad 
Avenue and Route 57 four miles inland to the south- 
west corner of Fort McKinley. 



ISOLATING THE BATTLEFIELD 



269 



100 men killed and 510 wounded, the 
vast majority in the action at Nichols 
Field. 89 The division and its air and 
artillery support had killed perhaps 
3,000 Japanese in the metropolitan area, 
destroying the 3d Naval Battalion and 
isolating the Abe Battalion. From then 
on the division's activities in the Manila 
area would be directed toward securing 
the Cavite region, destroying the Abe 
Battalion, and, in co-operation with the 
1st Cavalry Division, assuring the sever- 
ance of the Manila Naval Defense Force's 
routes of escape and reinforcement by 
clearing Fort McKinley and environs. 
For the latter purpose the airborne divi- 
sion would have to maintain close con- 
tact with the cavalry, already moving to 
complete the encirclement of the 
Japanese defenders in the city. 

Completing the Encirclement 

The 1st Cavalry Division planned that 
the 5th Cavalry, the unit with the most 
direct approach to the Nichols Field area, 
would be the first to make contact with 
the 11th Airborne Division. But delays 
in getting the rest of the regiment across 
the Pasig on 1 1 February, combined 
with the necessity for patrolling east- 
ward along the south bank of the river 
to seek out Japanese machine gun and 
artillery positions near the crossing site, 
prevented the 5th Cavalry from making 
general advances on that day. On the 
right the 8th Cavalry, maintaining con- 
tact with the 37th Division, drove up 
almost to the Estero de Paco along the 
division boundary against scattered op- 

" Since there are few division records, casualty 
figures are fragmentary, and the figures presented 
here are the author's estimates based upon study of 
all relevant sources. 



position. The left remained in essenti- 
ally the same position it had held the 
previous night, just south of the Philip- 
pine Racing Club. In the area of South 
Cemetery, across the tracks of the Manila 
Suburban Electric Line (trolley cars) 
from the club, a 511th Infantry patrol 
made contact with an 8th Cavalry outpost 
late in the day. 

The next, day, 12 February, the 5th 
Cavalry swept rapidly across Nielson 
Field against scattered rifle fire and about 
0900 came up to Culi-Culi and Route 
57, an eastern extension of the same 
street that, known as Libertad Avenue 
further to the west, the 5 1 1 th Infantry 
had reached on 1 1 February. Turning 
west along this road, the 5th Cavalry 
made contact with the 51 ith Infantry on 
Libertad Avenue proper about 1040. A 
few minutes later the cavalry's leading 
elements were on the shore of Manila 
Bay and sped north another 1,000 yards 
to Villaruel Street. 

The 8th Cavalry had also continued 
westward during the morning but in the 
afternoon was relieved by the 12 th Cav- 
alry. The latter, in turn, had been re- 
lieved along the line of communications 
by the 112th Cavalry RCT, which 
Krueger had attached to the 1st Cavalry 
Division on 9 February. General Mudge, 
the division commander, found in this 
relief a welcome opportunity to recon- 
stitute his normal brigade structure and 
so sent the 12th Cavalry south to rejoin 
the 5th Cavalry under the control of the 
1st Brigade headquarters. The 8 th Cav- 
alry then moved north to go back under 
ad Brigade command. 

Wasting little time, the 12th Cavalry, 
during the afternoon of 12 February, 
halted its right to contain Japanese who 
had already stalled the 8th Cavalry and 



270 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



advanced its left rapidly southwestward 
past Nielson Field and on to Vilkiruel 
Street, where it made contact with the 
5th Cavalry troops already along that 
thoroughfare. About 1430, the 2d Squad- 
ron, 12th Cavalry, reached the bay shore. 

The 1st Cavalry Brigade's advance to 
the shores of Manila Bay on 12 Febru- 
ary, together with the establishment of 
contact between that unit and the 11th 
Airborne Division, completed the en- 



circlement of the Japanese forces in 
Manila. Admiral Iwabuchi and the now 
isolated troops of his Manila Naval De- 
fense Force could choose only between 
surrender and a fight to the death. And 
by evening on 12 February any private 
in the 1st Cavalry Division, the 11th 
Airborne Division, or the 37th Infantry 
Division could have told all who cared 
to ask that Iwabuchi had already 
selected the second course. 



CHAPTER XV 

The Drive Toward Intramuros 



Iwabuchi Entrapped 

Although patently determined at the 
end of January to defend Manila to the 
last, Admiral Iwabuchi apparently wa- 
vered in his resolution during the week 
or so following the arrival of the first. 
American troops in the city. 1 On the 
morning of 9 February, two days after 
the 37th Division began crossing the 
Pasig, the admiral decided that his posi- 
tion in the Manila area had deteriorated 
so rapidly and completely that he should 
devote some attention to evacuating his 
remaining forces. Accordingly, he moved 
his headquarters to Fort McKinley, evi- 
dently planning to direct a withdrawal 
from that relatively safe vantage point. 
This transfer precipitated a series of in- 
cidents that vividly illustrates the anom- 
alies of the Japanese comniand structure 
in the metropolitan area. 

About the same time that Iwabuchi 
moved to Fort McKinley, the first defi- 
nite information about the course of the 
battle in Manila reached General Yoko- 
yama's Shim b 11 Group headquarters. The 
Shim bit commander immediately began 



1 The general Japanese sources used in the prep- 
aration of this section are: SWPA Hist Series, II, 
461-6.); ijfih Area Army Tr Org List; Japanese 
Studies in WW II, No. 12,15, Philippine Area Naval 
Opns, pt, IV, pp, 29-32; Asano Statement, States, 
I, 9.I-95; Hashimoto Statement, States, I, 27R-R1; 
Colonel Koboynshi Statement, States, II, 250-52; 
Kayashima Statement, States, II, 157-70. 



planning a counterattack, the multiple 
aims and complicated preparation of 
which suggest that Yokoyama had so 
little information that he could not 
make up his mind quite what he wanted 
to, or could, accomplish. 

Estimating the strength of the Ameri- 
cans in the Manila area at little more 
than a regiment, General Yokoyama ap- 
parently felt that he had a good oppor- 
tunity to cut off and isolate the Allied 
force. Conversely, he was also interested 
in getting the Manila Naval Defense 
Force out of the city quickly, either by 
opening a line of retreat or by having 
Iwabuchi co-ordinate a breakthrough ef- 
fort with a Shimbu Group counterattack, 
scheduled for the night, of 16-17 Febru- 
ary. Not knowing how far the situation 
in Manila had deteriorated — communi- 
cations were faulty and Admiral 
Iwabuchi had supplied Yokoyama with 
little information — Yokoyama at first di- 
rected the Manila Naval Defense Force 
to hold fast. The question of a general 
withdrawal, he told Iwabuchi, would be 
held in abeyance pending the outcome 
of the counterattack. 

There is no indication that the Shimbu 
Group commander intended to reinforce 
or retake Manila. Rather, his primary 
interest was to gain time for the Shimbu 
Group to strengthen its defenses north 
and northeast of the city and to move 
more supplies out of the city to its 



272 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



mountain strongholds, simultaneously 
creating a good opportunity for the 
Manila Naval Defense Force to withdraw 
intact. 

Such was the state of communications 
between Iwabuchi and Yokoyama that 
Iwabuchi had decided to return to Ma- 
nila before he received any word of the 
counterattack plans. When Admiral 
Iwabuchi left Manila he had placed Colo- 
nel Noguchi, the Northern Force com- 
mander, in control of all troops 
remaining within the city limits. Noguchi 
found it impossible to exercise effective 
control over the naval elements of his 
command and asked that a senior naval 
officer return to the city. Iwabuchi, who 
now feared that Fort McKinley might 
fall to the Americans before the defenses 
within the city, himself felt compelled 
to return, a step he took on the morning 
of 1 1 February. 

On or about 13 February, General 
Yokoyama, having received more infor- 
mation, decided that the situation in 
Manila was beyond repair, and directed 
Iwabuchi to return to Fort McKinley 
and start withdrawing his troops imme- 
diately, without awaiting the Shimbu 
Group counterattack. Two days later 
General Yamashita, from his Baguio 
command post 125 miles to the north, 
stepped into the picture. Censuring 
General Yokoyama, the 14th Area Army 
commander first demanded to know why 
Admiral Iwabuchi had been permitted 
to return to the city and second directed 
Yokoyama to get all troops out of 
Manila immediately. 

Not until the morning of 17 February 
did Iwabuchi receive Yokoyama's di- 
rective of the 13th and Yamashita's 
orders of the 15th. By those dates XIV 
Corps had cut all Japanese routes of 



withdrawal, a fact that was readily ap- 
parent to Admiral Iwabuchi. As a result, 
he made no attempt to get any troops 
out of the city under the cover of the 
Shimbu Group's counterattack, which 
was just as well, since that effort was 
unsuccessful. 

Yokoyama had planned to counterat- 
tack With two columns. On the north, a 
force composed of two battalions of the 
31st Infantry, 8th Division, and two pro- 
visional infantry battalions from the 
105 th Division was to strike across the 
Marikina River from the center of the 
Shimbu Group's defenses, aiming at 
Novaliches Dam and Route 3 north of 
Manila, 2 The southern prong, consisting 
of three provisional infantry battalions 
of the Kobayashi Force — formerly the 
Army's Manila Defense Force — were to 
drive across the Marikina toward the 
Balara Water Filters and establish con- 
tact with the northern wing in the 
vicinity of Grace Park. 

The 112th Cavalry RCT, which had 
replaced the 12th Cavalry along the 1st 
Cavalry Division's line of communica- 
tions, broke up the northern wing's 
counterattack between 15 and 18 Feb- 
ruary. In the N oval iches-N oval iches 
Dam area, and in a series of skirmishes 
further west and northwest, the 112th 
Cavalry RCT dispatched some 300 Japa- 
nese, losing only 2 men killed and 32 
wounded. Un-co-ordinated from the 
start, the northern counterattack turned 
into a shambles, and the northern attack 



1 Additional information on the counterattack ef- 
fort is from: 1st Cav Div G-2 Summary Luzon, pp. 
12-15; 112th RCT Rpt Luzon, pp. 6-8; 1st Cav Div 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 13—14; 7th Cav Rpt Luzon, pp. 13—14; 
1st Cav Div G-4 Jn], 15-20 Feb 45; 8th Cav Rpt 
Luzon, Novaliches Water Shed Phase, pp. 1—2; ad Cav 
Brig Rpt Luzon, pp. 6-7. 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



273 



force withdrew in a disorganized manner 
before it accomplished anything. 

The Kobnyashi Force's effort was 
turned back on the morning of the 16th, 
when American artillery caught this 
southern wing as it attempted to cross 
the Marikina River. During the next 
three days all Japanese attacks were piece- 
meal in nature and were thrown back 
with little difficulty by the 7th and 8th 
Cavalry Regiments, operating east and 
northeast of Manila. By 19 February, 
when the southern counterattack force 
also withdrew, the 2d Cavalry Brigade 
and support artillery had killed about 
650 Japanese in the area west of the 
Marikina from Novaliches Dam south to 
the Pasig, The brigade lost about 15 
men killed and 50 wounded. 

The fact that the counterattack was 
completely unsuccessful in either cutting 
the XIV Corps lines of communications 
or opening a route of withdrawal for the 
Manila Naval Defense Force does not 
seem to have greatly concerned or sur- 
prised General Yokoyama. He did not 
have much hope of success from the be- 
ginning, and, indeed, his ardor for the 
venture was undoubtedly dampened by 
Admiral Iwabuchi's adamant attitude 
about making any further attempt to 
withdraw from the city, an attitude the 
admiral made amply clear on the morn- 
ing of the 17th, the very day that the 
counterattack was to have reached its 
peak of penetration. 

That morning Iwabuchi, truthfully 
enough, informed Yokoyama that with- 
drawal of the bulk of his forces from 
Manila was no longer possible. He went 
on to say that he still considered the de- 
fense of Manila to be of utmost import- 
ance and that he could not continue 
organized operations in the city should 



he attempt to move his headquarters or 
any other portion of his forces out. 
Again on 19 and 21 February Yokoyama 
directed Iwabuchi to withdraw. Iwa- 
buchi was unmoved, replying that with- 
drawal would result in quick annihilation 
of the forces making the attempt, where- 
as continued resistance within the city 
would result in heavy losses to the attack- 
ing American forces. General Yokoyama 
suggested that Iwabuchi undertake night 
withdrawals by infiltrating small groups 
of men through the American lines. 
Past experience throughout the Pacific 
war, the Shimbu Group commander 
went on, had proven the feasibility of 
such undertakings. There was no re- 
corded answer to this message, and on 
23 February all communication between 
the Shimbu Group and the Manila Naval 
Defense Force ceased. Admiral Iwabuchi 
had made his bed, and he was to die 
in it. 

Meanwhile, the fighting within Ma- 
nila had raged unabated as XIV Corps 
compressed the Japanese into an ever 
decreasing area. Outside, the 11th Air- 
borne Division had cut off the Southern 
Force 's Abe Battalion on high ground at 
Mabato Point, on the northwest shore 
of Laguna de Bay. There, between 14 
and 18 February, a battalion-sized guer- 
rilla force under Maj. John D. Vander- 
pool, a special agent sent to Luzon by 
GHQ SWPA in October 1944, contained 
the Japanese unit. 3 From 18 through 23 
February an 1 ith Airborne Division task 
force, composed of three infantry battal- 
ions closely supported by artillery, tank 
destroyers, and Marine Corps SBD's, 
besieged the Abe Battalion. In this final 

•G-2 GHQ FEC, Intelligence Activities in the 
Philippines During the Japanese Occupation, 10 Jun 
48, pp. 87-88, in OCMH files. 



274 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



action the Japanese unit lost about 750 
men killed; the 11th Airborne Division 
lost less than 10 men killed and 50 
wounded — the burden of the attack had 
been borne principally by the artillery 
and air support elements. The Abe Bat- 
talion's final stand made no tactical sense, 
and at least until 14 February the unit 
could have escaped northeastward 
practically unmolested. 4 

The 4th Naval Battalion, cut off at 
Fort McKinley when the 5th and 12th 
Cavalry Regiments pushed to Manila 
Ray, played the game a bit more shrewdly. 
From 13 through ig February elements 
of the 11th Airborne Division, coming 
northeast from the Nichols Field area, 
and troops of the 1st Cavalry Brigade, 
moving east along the south bank of the 
Pasig River, cleared all the approaches to 
Fort McKinley in a series of patrol ac- 
tions. When, on the 19th, troops of the 
11th Airborne and elements of the 1st 
Cavalry Division completed the occupa- 
tion of the Fort McKinley area, they 
found that the bulk of the Japanese had 
fled. Whether by Iwabuchi's authority 
or not, the 4th Naval Battalion, together 
with remnants of the ;d Naval Battalion 
from Nichols Field, had withdrawn east- 
ward toward the Shimbu Group's main 
defenses during the night of 17-18 Feb- 
ruary. Some 300 survivors of the 3d 
Naval Battalion thus escaped, while the 
4th probably managed to evacuate about 
1,000 men of its original strength of 
nearly i,400. B 



1 Detailed information on the Mabato Point action 
is to be found in: 11th A/B Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 6, 17, 
29; 11th A/B Div G— g Per Rpts, 19—23 Feb 45; 1st 
Bn 187th Gli Inf Chron Narrative Mike VI Opn, p, 9. 

* Information on the Fort McKinley actions is 
fiom: XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 94-96, 99, 
227—29; 11th A/B Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 6, 17, 29; 11th 
A/B Div G-3 Per Rpts, 13-20 Feb 45; 5th Cav Rpt 



Inside the city, as of 12 February, Ad- 
miral Iwabuchi still had under his con- 
trol his Central Force (1st and 2d Naval 
Battalions), the Headquarters Sector 
Unit, the 5th Naval Battalion, the North- 
ern Force's 3d Provisional Infantry Bat- 
talion and service units, remnants of 
Colonel Noguchi's 2d Provisional Infan- 
try Battalion, and, finally, the many 
miscellaneous naval "attached units." 
The 37th Division had decimated the 
1st Naval Battalion at Provisor Island 
and during the fighting through Paco 
and Pandacan Districts; the 2d Provi- 
sional Infantry Battalion had lost heavily 
in action against the 1st Cavalry and 
37th Divisions north of the Pasig; the 
2d Naval Battalion, originally holding 
the extreme southern section of the city, 
had lost considerable strength to the 1st 
Cavalry Brigade and the 1 1 th Airborne 
Division; all the rest of the Japanese 
units had suffered losses from American 
artillery and mortar fire. The total 
strength now available to Iwabuchi 
within Manila probably numbered no 
more than 6,000 troops. 

Perhaps more serious, from Iwabuchi's 
point of view, were the Japanese heavy 
weapons losses. By 12 February XIV 
Corps had destroyed almost all his artil- 
lery. Carefully laid American artillery 
and mortar fire was rapidly knocking out 
his remaining mortars as well as all ma- 
chine guns except for those emplaced 
well within fortified buildings. Soon 
Iwabuchi's men would be reduced to 



Luzon, pp. 14-17; 12th Cav Rpt Luzon, p. 11; 188th 
Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 8-Q.. 

On ig February, during the attack toward Fort 
McKinley from the south. Pfc. Manuel Perez, Jr., of 
Company A, 511th Parachute Infantry, won the 
Medal of Honor for heroic action in reducing 
Japanese pillboxes that had held up the advance of 
his company. 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



275 



fighting principally with light machine 
guns, rifles, and hand grenades. Even so, 
they were to demonstrate that they were 
capable of conducting a most tenacious 
and fanatic defense. 

The Battles at the Strongpoints 
A Forecast 

After 12 February XIV Corps troops 
found themselves in a steady war of attri- 
tion. Street-to-street, building-to-build- 
ing, and room-to-room fighting 
characterized each day's activity. Prog- 
ress was sometimes measured only in 
feet; many days saw no progress at all. 
The fighting became really "dirty." The 
Japanese, looking forward only to death, 
started committing all sorts of excesses, 
both against the city itself and against 
Filipinos unlucky enough to remain 
under Japanese control. As time went 
on, Japanese command disintegrated. 
Then, viciousness became uncontrolled 
and uncontrollable; horror mounted 
upon horror. The men of the 37th In- 
fantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Divi- 
sion witnessed the rape, sack, pillage, and 
destruction of a large part of Manila 
and became reluctant parties to much 
of the destruction. 

Although XIV Corps placed heavy de- 
pendence upon artillery, tank, tank de- 
stroyer, mortar, and bazooka fire for all 
advances, cleaning out individual build- 
ings ultimately fell to individual rifle- 
men. To accomplish this work, the 
infantry brought to fruition a system 
initiated north of the Pasig River. Small 
units worked their way from one build- 
ing to the next, usually trying to secure 
the roof and top floor first, often by 
coming through the upper floors of an 



adjoining structure. Using stairways as 
axes of advance, lines of supply, and 
routes of evacuation, troops then began 
working their way down through the 
building. For the most part, squads 
broke up into small assault teams, one 
holding entrances and perhaps the 
ground floor — when that was where en- 
trance had been gained — while the other 
fought through the building. In many 
cases, where the Japanese blocked stair- 
ways and corridors, the American troops 
found it necessary to chop or blow holes 
through walls and floors. Under such 
circumstances, hand grenades, flame 
throwers, and demolitions usually proved 
requisites to progress. 6 

Casualties were seldom high on any 
one day. For example, on 12 February 
the 129th Infantry, operating along the 
south bank of the Pasig in the area near 
Provisor Island, was held to gains of 1 50 
yards at the cost of 5 men killed and 28 
wounded. Low as these casualty figures 
were for a regimental attack, the attri- 
tion — over 90 percent of it occurring 
among the front-line riflemen— depleted 
the infantry companies' effective fighting 
strength at an alarming rate. 

Each infantry and cavalry regiment 
engaged south of the Pasig found a par- 
ticular group of buildings to be a focal 
point of Japanese resistance. While by 
12 February XIV Corps knew that the 
final Japanese stand would be made in 
Intramuros and the government build- 
ings ringing the Walled City from the 
east around to the south, progress toward 
Intramuros would be held up for days as 
each regiment concentrated its efforts on 

"Further details of the methods of fighting em- 
ployed south of the Pasig are to be found in XIV 
Corps, Japanese Defense of Cities, pp. 2, 10, 15-14, 
19-23. 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



277 



eliminating the particular strongpoints 
to its front. There was, of course, fight- 
ing practically every step of the way west 
from Estero de Paco and north from 
Pasay suburb in addition to the battles 
at the strongpoints. This other fighting 
was, however, often without definite pat- 
tern — it was laborious, costly, and time 
consuming, and no single narrative could 
follow it in detail. It was also usually 
only incidental- to the battles taking 
place at the more fanatically defended 
strongpoints. In brief, the action at the 
strongpoints decided the issue during the 
drive toward Intramuros. 

Harrison Park to the Manila Hotel 

When the 5th and 12 th Cavalry Regi- 
ments reached Manila Bay in Pasay sub- 
urb on ia February, completing the 
encirclement of Admiral Iwabuchi's 
forces, they immediat ely turne d north 

The first 
this area 



toward the city limits. 7 (Map 6) 
known Japanese strongpoint in 
was located at Harrison Park and at 
Rizal Memorial Stadium and associated 
Olympic Games facilities near the bay 
front just inside the city limits. The 
park-stadium complex extended from 
the bay east 1,200 yards to Taft Avenue 



T The general sources for U.S. operations described 
in this chapter are: XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt, I, 
pp. 89-113; XIV Corps, Japanese Defense of Cities, 
passim; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 37-77; 37th Div 
G-3 Per Rpts, 10-23 Feb 45; 1st Cav Div Rpt Luzon, 
Narrative, pp, 4-14; Wright, 1st Cavalry Division in 
WW II, pp. 130-33; 1st Cav Div G-3 Opns Rpts, 12- 
26 Feb 45; 1st Cav Brig Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. a— 6; 
1 st Cav Brig S-3 Per Rpts, 12-23 Feb 45; 37th Div 
G-3 Jnls and Jnl Files, 10-23 Feh 45! 1st Cav Div 
G-3 Jnl, 10-26 Feb 45; 2d Cav Brig Jnl Files, 10-23 
Feb 45; XIV Corps Arty Rpt Luzon, pp. 11—12; 37th 
Div Arty Rpt Luzon, pp. t)-io; 1st Cav Div Arty Rpt 
Luzon, pt. II, Chron Red, pp. 5-15; ibid-, pt. III, 
Unit Jnl, 10-23 Feb 45, 



and north from Vito Cruz Street — mark- 
ing the city limits — some 700 yards to 
Harrison Boulevard, the ist Cavalry 
Division~37th Division boundary. On 
the bay front lay the Manila Yacht Club 
and the ruins of Fort Abad, an old Span- 
ish structure. Harrison Park, a generally 
open area surrounded by tree-lined road- 
ways, was next inland. East of the south 
end of the park lay a baseball stadium 
similar to any of the smaller "big league" 
parks in the United States. Due north 
and adjacent to the ball field was Rizal 
Stadium, built for Olympic track and 
field events and including, inter alia, a 
two-story, covered, concrete grandstand. 
Still further east, near the banks of a 
small stream, was an indoor coliseum, 
tennis court, and a swimming pool, read- 
ing south to north. Beyond the small 
stream and facing on Taft Avenue lay 
the large, three-story concrete building 
of La Salle University. The 2d Naval 
Battalion and various attached provi- 
sional units defended all these buildings. 

The 12 th Cavalry and the 2d Squad- 
ron, 5th Cavalry, took two days to fight 
their way north through Pasay suburb to 
Vito Cruz Street, rooting out scattered 
groups of Japanese who had holed up in 
homes throughout che suburb. 8 During 
the attack, the 2d Squadron of the 12th 
Cavalry extended its right flank across 
Taft Avenue to Santa Escolastica Col- 
lege, two blocks southeast of La Salle 
University. 

On the morning of 15 February, after 
an hour of preparatory fire by one battal- 
ion of 105-mm. howitzers and a second 



"Additional material on 5th and 12th Cavalry 
operations is from; 12th Cav Rpt Luzon, pp. 8-14; 
12th Cav Unit Rpts, 12-23 Feb 45; 5th Cav Rpt 
Luzon, pp. 10-27; 5 tn Cav S-3 Per Rpts, 12-23 Feb 
45; 5th Cav S-2/S-3 Jnl, 12-23 FeD 45- 



278 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Rtzal Baseball Stadium 



of 155-mm. howitzers, the 12th Cavalry 
forced its way into La Salle University 
and the Japanese Club, just to the 
south of the university on the same side 
of Taft Avenue, The regiment also 
made an unsuccessful attempt to get into 
Rizal Stadium, Meanwhile, the 5th 
Cavalry's squadron drove north along the 
bay front, forcing Japanese defenders 
caught in the open at Harrison Park 
into the stadium. Late in the afternoon 
cavalrymen broke into both the baseball 
park and the stadium from the east but 
were forced out at dusk by Japanese 
machine gun, rifle, and mortar fire. 
The 5U1 Cavalry cleared the baseball 



grounds on 16 February after three 
tanks, having blasted and battered their 
way through a cement wall on the east 
side of the park, got into the playing 
field to support the cavalrymen inside. 
Resistance came from heavy bunkers 
constructed all over the diamond, most 
of them located in left field and in left 
center, and from sandbagged positions 
under the grandstand beyond the third 
base-left field foul line. Flame throwers 
and demolitions overcame the last resis- 
tance, and by 1630 the 5th Cavalry had 
finished the job. Meanwhile, elements 
of the 12th Cavalry had cleaned out the 
coliseum, Rizal Stadium, and the ruins 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



279 



of Fort Abad. The two units finished 
mopping up during the 18th. 

In the fighting in the Harrison Park- 
Rizal Stadium-La Salle University area, 
the 5th and 12th Cavalry Regiments lost 
approximately 40 men killed and 315 
wounded. 9 The 2d Naval Battalion, de- 
stroyed as an effective combat force, lost 
probably 750 men killed, the remnants 
fleeing northward to join units fighting 
against elements of the 37th Division. 
The success at the park-stadium area 
paved the way for further advances north 
along the bay front, and the 12th Cavalry 
had begun preparations for just such 
advances while it was mopping up. 

On 16 February, in the midst of the 
fighting in the stadium area, the 1st 
Cavalry Brigade (less the 2d Squadron, 
12th Cavalry) passed to the control of 
the 37th Division. General Beightler 
directed the brigade to secure all the 
ground still in Japanese hands from 
Harrison Park north to Isaac Peral 
Street — fifteen blocks and 2,000 yards 
north of Harrison Boulevard — and be- 
tween the bay shore and Taft Avenue. 
The 5th Cavalry, under this program, 
was to relieve the 148th Infantry, 37th 
Division, at another strongpoint, while 
the 12th Cavalry (less 2d Squadron) was 
to make the attack north along the bay 
front. The i2th's first objective was the 
prewar office and residence of the U.S. 
High Commissioner to the Philippines, 
lying on the bay at the western end of 
Padre Faura Street, three blocks short of 
Isaac Peral. 10 

9 About half the wounded were returned to duty 
without hospitalization. 

10 XIV Corps Opns Memo 19, 16 Feb 45, in file of 
corps opns memos; XIV Corps FO 7, 17 Feb 45, Sixth 
Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 16-18 Feb 415; 37th Div 
Opns Memo 7, 17 Feb 45, XIV Corps O-g Jnl File. 
17—18 Feb 45; 12th Cav Rpt Luzon, pp. 11^12. 



The 1st Squadron, 12 th Cavalry, 
began its drive northward at 1100 on 19 
February, opposed by considerable rifle, 
machine gun, and 20-mm. machine can- 
non fire from the High Commissioner's 
residence and from private clubs and 
apartment buildings north and northeast 
thereof. With close support of medium 
tanks, the squadron's right flank reached 
Padre Faura Street by dusk, leaving the 
residence and grounds in Japanese hands. 
During the day a Chinese guerrilla in- 
formant — who claimed that his name 
was Charlie Chan — told the 12th Cavalry 
to expect stiff opposition at the Army- 
Navy and Elks Clubs, lying between 
Isaac Peral and the next street north, San 
Luis. 11 The units also expected opposi- 
tion from apartments and hotels across 
Dewey Boulevard east of the clubs. The 
two club buildings had originally been 
garrisoned by Admiral Iwabuchi's Head- 
quarters Sector Unit, apd the Manila 
Naval Defense Force commander had 
apparently used the Army-Navy Club as 
his command post for some time. Apart- 
ments and hotels along the east side of 
Dewey Boulevard were probably de- 
fended by elements of Headquarters 
Battalion and some of the provisional 
attached units. 

Behind close artillery support, the 
cavalry squadron attacked early on 20 
February and by 0815 had overrun the 
last resistance in the High Commission- 
er's residence and on the surrounding 
grounds. The impetus of the attack car- 
ried the squadron on through the Army- 
Navy and Elks Clubs and up to San Luis 
Street and also through most of the apart- 
ments, hotels, and private homes lying 
on the east side of Dewey Boulevard 



11 iath Cav Unit Rpt 19, 19 Feb 45. 



280 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



from Padre Faura north to San Luis. 
Only go Japanese were killed in this 
once-important Manila Naval Defense 
Force command post area; the rest had 
fled into Intramuros or been used as re- 
inforcements elsewhere. The ist Squad- 
ron, 12th Cavalry, lost 3 men killed and 
19 wounded during the day, almost the 
exact ratio of casualties being incurred 
by other U.S. units fighting throughout 
Manila. 

Now facing the cavalrymen across San 
Luis Street were the wide, open park 
areas of New Luneta, Burnham Green, 
Old Luneta, and the western portion of 
Wallace Field, reading from the bay in- 
land. About 500 yards north across Burn- 
ham Green loomed the five-story concrete 
bulk of the Manila Hotel, and north of 
Old Luneta and Wallace Field lay In- 
tramuros. The South Port Area lay just 
northwest of the Manila Hotel, the next 
objective. In preparation for the attack 
on the hotel, the 82d Field Artillery Bat- 
talion intermittently shelled the build- 
ing and surrounding grounds throughout 
the night. A patrol of Troop B dug in 
along the north edge of Burnham Green 
to prevent Japanese in the hotel from 
breaking out to reoccupy abandoned 
bunkers in the open park area. 

With artillery support and the aid of 
two 105-mm. self-propelled mounts and 
a platoon of medium tanks, the 1st 
Squadron dashed into the hotel on the 
morning of 2 1 February. As was the case 
in other large buildings throughout the 
city, the hotel contained a series of in- 
terior strongpoints, the basement and 
underground passages being especially 
strongly held. Nevertheless, the hotel's 
eastern, or old, wing was secured prac- 
tically intact by midafternoon. Some 
Japanese still defended the basement 



and the new (west) wing, but the cav- 
alrymen cleaned them out the next day. 
The new wing, including a penthouse 
where General MacArthur had made his 
prewar home, was gutted during the 
fight, and the general's penthouse was 
demolished. 12 

The New Police Station 

Just as one Japanese strongpoint was 
located on the left (west) of the Ameri- 
can forces fighting in Manila, so there 
was another blocking the road to Intra- 
muros on the American right, in the 
sector of the 129th Infantry, which had 
completed the reduction of Provisor 
Island on 12 February. The i29th's par- 
ticular b£te noire was a block of build- 
ings bounded on the north by an un- 
named east- west extension of the Estero 
Provisor, on the east by Marques de 
Comillas Street, on the south by Isaac 
Petal Street (here the boundary between 
the 129th and 148th Infantry Regi- 
ments), and on the west by San Mar- 
celino Street — the whole area being 
about 200 yards wide east to west and 
400 yards long. The focal point of Japa- 
nese resistance in this area was the New 
Police Station, located on the northwest 
corner of San Marcelino and Isaac Peral 
Streets. At the northeast corner was a 
three-story concrete shoe factory, north 
of which, covering the block between 
San Marcelino and Marques de Comillas, 
was the Manila Club. North of the club 
were the buildings of Santa Teresita 
College, and west of the college, across 

1! Personal observation of the author. In April 
'9-15 'he old wing was repaired and here, ultimately, 
were domiciled many male officers of GHQ SWPA, 
though one floor was given over to WAC officers 
assigned to that headquarters. No attempt was made 
to repair the new wing during the war. 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



281 




Manila Hotel in Ruins 



San Marcelino, lay San Pablo Church 
and attached convent. All approaches to 
these buildings lay across open ground 
and were covered by grazing machine 
gun fire. The Japanese had strong de- 
fenses both inside and outside each 
building and covered each with mutu- 
ally supporting fire. The New Police 
Station, two stories of reinforced con- 
crete and a large basement, featured 
inside and outside bunkers, in both of 
which machine gunners and riflemen 
holed up. The 129th Infantry, which 
had previously seen action at Bougain- 
ville and against the Kembu Group, and 
which subsequently had a rough time 



against the Shobu Group in northern 
Luzon, later characterized the combined 
collection of obstacles in the New Police 
Station area as the most formidable the 
regiment encountered during the war. 13 
The realization that the strongpoint was 
well defended was no comfort to the 
129th Infantry, since until the regiment 
cleared the area neither its left nor the 
148th Infantry's right could make any 
progress. The 37th Division, moreover, 



" lagth Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 0. Additional material 
jn 129th Infantry operations in this chapter is from: 
129th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 7-9; 1129th Inf Hist 1810- 
19415, PP- 62-66; 129th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 10-23 Fe ^ 
45; isgth Inf Regtl Jnl. 10-23 Feb 45' 



282 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



could not simply contain and bypass the 
strongpoint, for to do so would produce 
a deep and dangerous salient in the divi- 
sion lines as the drive toward Intramuros 
progressed. 

While the 129th Infantry's right— the 
2d Battalion— had been completing the 
reduction of Japanese defenses on Pro- 
visor Island, the left and center, on 10 
and 1 1 February, had moved westward 
in the area between Isaac Peral Street 
and Provisor Island generally up to the 
line of Marques de Comillas Street. 
During the 12th the 2d Battalion crossed 
to the mainland from the west shore of 
Provisor Island but despite close and 
plentiful artillery support could make 
scarcely 150 yards westward along the 
south bank of the Pasig. On the same 
day the rest of the regiment did little 
more than straighten out its lines along 
Marques de Comillas. Attacks on the 
New Police Station and the Manila Club 
on 13 February were unsuccessful. Shells 
of supporting 155-mm. howitzers had 
little effect on the two buildings, and 
even point-blank fire from a tank de- 
stroyer's high-velocity 76-mm. gun and 
X054nm. high-explosive shells from Can- 
non Company's self-propelled mounts 
did little to reduce the volume of 
Japanese fire. 

On the morning of the 14th, Com- 
pany A, 754th Tank Battalion, came up 
to reinforce the 129th Infantry. 14 Be- 
hind close support from the tanks, Com- 
pany B, 129th Infantry, gained access to 
the Manila Club; Company A, 129th 
Infantry, entered windows on the first 
floor of the New Police Station; and a 
platoon of Company C made its way into 

"Additional information on tank action is from 
754th Tank Battalion Report Luzon, Phase VI, 
Battle of Manila. 



the police station's basement. Having 
attacked at first light, Company A had 
surprised the Japanese before they had 
reoccupied positions vacated during the 
American preassault artillery and tank 
bombardment, but the Japanese soon 
recovered and put up a strong fight 
through the corridors and rooms of the 
police station's first floor. Some extent 
of the strength and nature of the defenses 
is indicated by the fact that the 129th 
Infantry destroyed three sandbagged ma- 
chine gun positions in one room alone. 

Progress through the basement and 
first floor was slow but satisfactory until 
the Japanese started dropping hand gre- 
nades through holes chopped in the 
second story's floor. With stairways de- 
stroyed or too well defended to permit 
infantry assault, Company A found no 
way to counter the Japanese tactics — a 
good example of why the troops usually 
tried to secure the top story of a de- 
fended building first. Evacuation proved 
necessary, and by dusk the Company A 
and C elements were back along Marques 
de Comillas Street, Company B holding 
within the Manila Club. 

On 15 and 16 February only probing 
attacks were made at the New Police 
Station, the shoe factory, and Santa 
Teresita College, while tanks, TD's, M7 
SPM's, and 105-mm. artillery kept up a 
steady fire against all buildings still in 
Japanese hands. Even these probing ac- 
tions cost the 1st Battalion, 129th Infan- 
try, 16 men killed and 58 wounded. 
During the morning of the 17th the bat- 
talion secured the shattered shoe factory 
and entered Santa Teresita College, but 
its hold at the college, tenuous from the 
beginning, was given up as the 1st Bat- 
talion, 145th Infantry, moved into the 
area to relieve the 129th. The New Po- 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



283 



lice Station, still the major stronghold, 
was still firmly in Japanese hands when 
the 129th Infantry left. 

The 1st Battalion, 145th Infantry, 
took up the attack about 1015 on the 
18th behind hundreds of rounds of pre- 
paratory fire from tanks and M/s. 15 The 
battalion cleared the shoe factory and 
Santa Teresita College for good, and 
once more gained a foothold inside the 
New Police Station. Nevertheless, op- 
position remained strong all through 
the interior of the police station, while 
every movement of men past holes 
blown in the northwest walls by support- 
ing artillery brought down Japanese ma- 
chine gun and rifle fire from San Pablo 
Church, two blocks to the north. The 
145th Infantry, like the 129th before it, 
found its grip on the New Police Sta- 
tion untenable and withdrew during 
the afternoon. 

Throughout the morning of 19 Feb- 
ruary the police station and the church 
were bombarded by the 75-mm. guns of 
a platoon of Sherman M3 tanks, a pla- 
toon of M4 tanks mounting 105-mm. 
howitzers, a platoon of 105-mm. SPM's, 
and most of a 105-mm. field artillery 
battalion. During the afternoon Com- 
pany B, 145th Infantry, fought its way 
into the east wing of the police station, 
while other troops cleaned out San Pablo 
Church and the adjoining convent 
against suddenly diminished opposition. 
The hold on the New Police Station — 
the Japanese still defended the west 
wing — again proved untenable and 



"Additional information in this chapter on 145th 
Infantry operations is from: 145th Inf Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 20-29; MS 1 ' 1 Inf S-g Per Rpts, 12-23 Feb 45' 
145th Inf S-i and S-3 Jnls, 12-23 Feb 45; 716th Tank 
Bn Rpt Luzon, Assault Gun Platoon Action in 
Manila. 



again the troops had to withdraw. Fi- 
nally, after more artillery and tank fire 
had almost demolished the building, 
Company C, 145th Infantry, secured the 
ruins on 20 February. 

The reduction of the New Police 
Station strongpoint and the nearby de- 
fended buildings had consumed eight 
full days of heavy fighting. The seizure 
of the police station building alone had 
cost the 37th Division approximately 
25 men killed and 80 wounded, while 
the 754th Tank Battalion lost three me- 
diums in front of the structure. The 
37th Division could make no accurate 
estimate of Japanese casualties since the 
Japanese, who still controlled the ground 
to the west, had been able to reinforce 
and evacuate at will. During the fight the 
37th Division and its supporting units 
had demolished the New Police Station, 
virtually destroyed the shoe factory, and 
damaged severely San Pablo Church and 
the Manila Club. Having reduced the 
strongpoint, the 37th Division's center 
was now able to resume its advance to- 
ward Intramuros. Meanwhile, its right 
and its left had been engaged at other 
centers of resistance blocking the 
approaches to the final objective. 

The City Hall and the General 
Post Office 

Each strongpoint of the Japanese 
defenses and each building within each 
strongpoint presented peculiar problems, 
and the attacking infantry, while oper- 
ating within a general pattern, had to 
devise special offensive variations for 
each. Such was the case at the General 
Post Office, located near the south end of 
Jones Bridge, and at the City Hall, a few 
blocks south along Padre Burgos Street 



284 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




New Police Station 



from the post office and across Padre 
Burgos from the filled moat along the 
east side of Intramuros. The 129th In- 
fantry had cleared buildings along the 
south bank of the Pasig from Provisor 
Island to within 300 yards of Quezon 
Bridge and north of the New Police 
Station strongpoint to positions a block 
from the City Hall. The 1st Battalion, 
145th Infantry, relieved units of the 
129th along the Pasig on 17 February, 
while the 3d Battalion, 145th, took over 
in the vicinity of the City Hall on the 
19 th - 

The 81-mm. mortars of the 129th In- 
fantry had once set afire the four-story 
concrete City Hall, but the fire had done 
little damage and had failed to drive 
out the Japanese defenders who num- 
bered, as of 20 February, approximately 
200 men. On the 20th the 105-mm. 
SPM's of Cannon Company, 145th In- 
fantry, aided by a single 1 55-mm. howit- 



zer, blew a hole in the building's east 
wall through which a platoon of the 
145th Infantry, covered by machine gun 
and rifle fire as it dashed across inter- 
vening open ground, gained access. Jap- 
anese fire forced the platoon out almost 
as fast as it had entered. The next day 
all of Company I, 145th Infantry, got 
into the City Hall after SPM's and TD's 
had knocked down the outer walls of 
the east wing. Again the hold proved 
untenable. On the morning of 22 Feb- 
ruary tanks, TD's, SPM's, and 155-mm. 
howitzers laid point-blank fire against 
the east wing, pulverizing it, while 105- 
mm. howitzers, 4.2-inch mortars, and 
81-mm. mortars plastered the roof and 
upper floors with indirect fire. 

Company I re-entered the City Hall 
about 0900 on the 2 2d. Using subma- 
chine guns, bazookas, flame throwers, 
demolitions, and hand grenades, the 
company fought its way through the 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



285 



sound part of the structure room by 
room and overcame most of the resist- 
ance by 1500, but 20-odd Japanese held 
out in a first floor room. Since they 
showed no inclination to surrender — 
although invited to do so — Company I 
blew holes through the ceiling from 
above and, sticking the business end of 
flame throwers through the holes, sum- 
marily ended the fight. Removing 206 
Japanese bodies from the City Hall, the 
145th Infantry also quickly cleared the 
rubble from the west wing, where it set 
up machine gun positions in windows to 
support the assault on Intramuros. 10 

The fight for the General Post Office, 
conducted simultaneously with that for 
the City Hall, was especially difficult 
because of the construction of the build- 
ing and the nature of the interior de- 
fenses. A large, five-story structure of 
earthquake-proof, heavily reinforced con- 
crete, the Post Office was practically im- 
pervious to direct artillery, tank, and 
tank destroyer fire. The interior was so 
compartmented by strong partitions that 
even a 155-mm. shell going directly 
through a window did relatively little 
damage inside. The Japanese had heav- 
ily barricaded all rooms and corridors, 
had protected their machine gunners 
and riflemen with fortifications seven 
feet high and ten sandbags thick, had 
strung barbed wire throughout, and 
even had hauled a 105-mm. artillery 
piece up to the second floor. The build- 
ing was practically impregnable to any- 
thing except prolonged, heavy air and 
artillery bombardment, and why the 
Japanese made no greater effort to hold 
the structure is a mystery, especially 

'* GHQ SWPA ultimately used the west wing- 
repaired by mid-April — for office space during the 
headquarters' stay in Manilla. 



since it blocked the northeastern ap- 
proaches to Intramuros and was con- 
nected to the Walled City by a trench 
and tunnel system. Despite these con- 
nections, the original garrison of the 
Post Office received few reinforcements 
during the fighting and, manifestly un- 
der orders to hold out to the death, was 
gradually whittled away by American 
artillery bombardment and infantry 
assaults. 

For three days XIV Corps and 37th 
Division Artillery pounded the Post 
Office, but each time troops of the 1st 
Battalion, 145th Infantry, attempted to 
enter the Japanese drove them out. Fi- 
nally, on the morning of 22 February, 
elements of the 1st Battalion gained a 
secure foothold, entering through a sec- 
ond story window. The Japanese who 
were still alive soon retreated into the 
large, dark basement, where the 145th 
Infantry's troops finished off organized 
resistance on the 23d. Nothing spectacu- 
lar occurred — -the action was just another 
dirty job of gradually overcoming fanatic 
resistance, a process with which the in- 
fantry of the 37th Division was by now 
all too thoroughly accustomed. 17 

The Hospital and the University 

The focal point of Japanese resistance 
in the 148th Infantry's zone was the area 
covered by the Philippine General Hos- 
pital and the University of the Philip- 
pines. 18 The hospital-university complex 



" Additional information on the Post Office fight 
came from: Milton Gomments, 15 Dec 56; Bcightler 
Comments, lS Mar 57. 

18 Additional information on 148th Infantry opera- 
tions is from: 148th Inf Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 6-9; 
148th Inf S-i and S-3 Per Rpts, 13-35 Feb 45; 148th 
Inf S-3 Jnl, 12-23 Feb 45. 



286 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



stretched about 1,000 yards south from 
Isaac Peral Street along the west side of 
Taft Avenue to Herran Street. The hos- 
pital and associated buildings extended 
west along the north side of Herran 
about 550 yards to Dakota Avenue 
while, about midway between Isaac Peral 
and Herran, Padre Faura Street sepa- 
rated the hospital and the university 
grounds. 

Fortified in violation of the Geneva 
Convention — Japan, like the United 
States, was not a signatory power, but 
both had agreed to abide by the conven- 
tion's rules — the hospital buildings, all 
of reinforced concrete, were clearly 
marked by large red crosses on their 
roofs, and they contained many Filipino 
patients who were, in effect, held hostage 
by the Japanese. XIV Corps had ini- 
tially prohibited artillery fire on the 
buildings, but lifted the restriction on 
12 February when the 148th Infantry 
discovered that the hospital was de- 
fended. The presence of the civilian 
patients did not become known for 
another two or three days. 

On 13 February the 148th Infantry, 
having fought every step of the way 
from the Estero de Paco, began to reach 
Taft Avenue and get into position for 
an attack on the hospital. On that day 
the left flank extended along Taft from 
Herran south four blocks to Harrison 
Boulevard, the 148th Infantry-i2th Cav- 
alry boundary. The infantry's extreme 
right was held up about three blocks 
short of Taft Avenue, unable to advance 
until the 129th and 145th Infantry over- 
ran the New Police Station strongpoint. 
By evening the center and most of the 
right flank elements had learned the 
hard way that the Japanese had all the 
east-west streets east of Taft Avenue cov- 



ered by automatic weapons emplaced in 
the hospital and university buildings. 
The 148th could not employ these streets 
as approaches to the objectives, and the 
regiment accordingly prepared to assault 
via the buildings and back yards on the 
east side of Taft. 

On 14 February the 2d Battalion, 
148th Infantry, trying to push across 
Taft Avenue, found that the Japanese 
had so arranged their defenses that cross 
fires covered all approaches to the hos- 
pital and university buildings. The 
defenders had dug well -constructed ma- 
chine gun emplacements .into the foun- 
dations of most of the buildings; inside 
they had sandbagged positions on the 
first floors; lastly, Japanese riflemen and 
machine gunners were stationed at the 
windows of upper stories to good advan- 
tage. The Japanese, in brief, stopped 
the American battalion with mortar, 
machine gun, and rifle fire from the Sci- 
ence Building and adjacent structures 
at the northwest corner of Taft and 
Herran, from the main hospital build- 
ings on the west side of Taft between 
California and Oregon, and from the 
Nurses' Dormitory at the northwest 
corner of Taft and Isaac Peral, On the 
left the 3d Battalion, pushing west across 
Taft Avenue south of Herran Street, had 
intended to advance on to Manila Bay, 
but halted, lest it become cut off, when 
the rest of the regiment stopped. 

On the 14th, at the cost of 22 killed 
and 29 wounded, the 148th Infantry 
again could make only negligible gains. 
Indeed, the progress the regiment made 
during the 14th had depended largely 
upon heavy artillery and mortar sup- 
port. The 140th Field Artillery fired 
2,091 rounds of high-explosive 105-mm. 
ammunition, and 4.2-inch mortars of 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



287 



the 8 2d Chemical Mortar Battalion ex- 
pended 1,101 rounds of high explosive 
and 264 rounds of white phosphorus. 10 
The white phosphorus, setting some fires 
in a residential district south of the hos- 
pital, helped the advance of the 3d 
Battalion, but neither this nor the high- 
explosive shells appreciably decreased 
the scale of Japanese fire from the hospital 
and university. 

On 15 February the 3d Battalion 
reached Manila Ray via Herran Street — 
before the 12th Cavalry was that far 
north — and then wheeled right to assault 
the hospital from the south. That day 
the 2d Battalion, in the center, was again 
unable to make any gains westward 
across Taf t Avenue, but on the 1 6th had 
limited success in a general assault 
against the main hospital buildings, the 
Science Building (at the northwest corn- 
er of Taft and Herran), the Medical 
School (just west of the Science Build- 
ing), and the Nurses' Dormitory. The 
Nurses' Dormitory, dominating the 
northern approaches to the university 
buildings, actually lay in the 129th In- 
fantry's zone, but the 148th attacked the 
dormitory because the 129th was still 
held up at the New Police Station. 

By afternoon of the 16th the 148th 
Infantry had learned that some Filipino 
civilians were in the hospital. Making 
every possible effort to protect the civil- 
ian patients, the 2d Battalion, 148th In- 
fantry, which had to direct the fire of 
tanks, tank destroyers, and self-propelled 
mounts against every structure in its 
path in order to gain any ground at all, 



"Almost all information on the 148th Infantry's 
mortar and artillery support comes from the regi- 
mental S— 3 reports. See also 140th FA Bn Unit Jnl, 
12-23 Feb 45; 140th FA Bn S-3 Per Rpts, 12^23 Feb 
45- 



limited its support fires at the hospital to 
the foundation defenses insofar as prac- 
ticable. With the aid of the close sup- 
port fires, the battalion grabbed and held 
a foothold in the Nurses' Dormitory after 
bitter room-to-room fighting. Further 
south, other troops, still unable to reach 
the Medical School, had to give up a 
tenuous hold in the Science Building 
when most of the 2d Battalion withdrew 
to the east side of Taft Avenue for the 
night. The cost of the disappointing 
gains was 5 men killed and 40 wounded 
— the attrition continued. 

During 17 February, with the aid of 
support fires from the 1st Battalion, now 
on the south side of Herran Street, the 
2d Battalion smashed its way into the 
two most easterly of the hospital's four 
wings and overran the last resistance in 
the Nurses' Dormitory and the Science 
Building. The advance might have gone 
faster had it not been necessary to evacu- 
ate patients and other Filipino civilians 
from the hospital. By dusk over 2,000 
civilians had come out of the buildings; 
the 148th Infantry conducted 5,000 more 
to safety that night. At the end of the 
17th the 148th had overcome almost all 
opposition except that at the Medical 
School and in a small group of buildings 
facing Padre Faura Street at the north- 
western corner of the hospital grounds. 

Throughout the 18th the 148th Infan- 
try mopped up and consolidated gains, 
and on the morning of the 19th the 5th 
Cavalry relieved the infantry regiment. 
The cavalrymen were to complete the 
occupation of the hospital buildings, de- 
stroy the Japanese at the university, and 
clear Assumption College, lying west of 
the Medical School. The 148th Infantry 
relinquished its hold on the Medical 
School before the 5th Cavalry completed 



288 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



its relief, 20 and the cavalry regiment 
started its fighting with a new assault 
there, moving in behind point-blank 
fire from supporting medium tanks. 
Troop G, 5th Cavalry, gained access by 
dashing along an 8-foot-high wall con- 
necting the Medical School to the Science 
Building. Employing flame throwers 
and bazookas as its principal assault 
weapons, the troop cleared the Medical 
School by dark on the 19th, claiming to 
have killed 150 Japanese in the action. 21 
The cavalry also secured Assumption 
College and a few small buildings on 
the hospital grounds that the 148th In- 
fantry had not cleared. The 5th's first 
day of action at the hospital-university 
strongpoint cost the regiment 1 killed 
and 11 wounded. 

The 5th Cavalry, leaving elements 
behind to complete the mop-up at the 
hospitah turned its attention to Rizal 
Hall, the largest building on the univer- 
sity campus. Centrally located and con- 
structed of reinforced concrete, Rizal 
Hall faced south on the north side of 
Padre Faura Street. The Japanese had 
strongly fortified the building, cutting 
slits for machine guns through the por- 
tion of the foundations lying just above 
ground, barricading doors and windows, 
emplacing machine guns on the flat roof, 
and setting up the ubiquitous sandbagged 
machine gun nests inside. 

After a two-hour tank and tank de- 

30 General Beightler, commenting on this passage, 
called it "a misstatement of fact" and an "attempt to 
belittle the 37th Division." Beightler Comments, 18 
Mar 57. The author's account is based upon the 
5th Cavalry's records: pth Cav Rpt Luzon, p. 17; 
5th Cav S-2/S-3 Jnl, 19 Feb 45; r,th Cav S-2 Per Rpt 
14, 19-20 Feb 45; 5th Cav S— 3 Per Rpts 15 and 16, 
18—19 ar, d 19— 20 Feb 45- The 148th Infantry records 
contain no information on the point, 

!1 The claim probably includes dead found within 
the building. 



stroyer bombardment, a Troop B pla- 
toon entered from the east about 1130 
on 20 February. During the shelling 
most of the Japanese had taken refuge 
in the basement, but reoccupied defenses 
on the three upper floors before the 
cavalry could gain control of the stair- 
ways. Nevertheless, the platoon cleared 
the first floor and secured a foothold on 
the second after two hours of fighting. 
The small force then stalled, but the 
squadron commander declined to send 
reinforcements into the building. First, 
the interior was so compartmented that 
only two or three men could actually be 
engaged at any one point; more would 
only get in each other's way. Second, he 
feared that the Japanese might blow the 
building at any moment. 

Accordingly, the Troop B platoon 
resumed its lonely fight and, without 
losing a single man, reached the top floor 
about 1700. Half an hour later the 
squadron commander's fear of demoli- 
tions proved well founded, for Japanese 
hidden in the basement set off a terrific 
explosion that tore out the entire center 
of Rizal Hall, killing 1 cavalryman and 
wounding 4 others. The platoon 
withdrew for the night. 

A similar experience had been the lot 
of Troop G in the Administration Build- 
ing at the southwest corner of the univer- 
sity campus. The troop had cleared 
about half its building by 1700, when 
explosions on the Japanese-held third 
floor forced it out. Action at Rizal Hall, 
the Administration Building, and other 
structures in the university-hospital area 
cost the 5th Cavalry another 9 men killed 
and 47 wounded on the 20th. 

The regiment took the Administration 
Building against little opposition on 21 
February, but did not secure Rizal Hall, 



THE DRIVE TOWARD INTRAMUROS 



289 




Rizal Hall 



which it left in a shambles, until the 
24th. The Japanese garrison at Rizal 
Hall alone had numbered at least 250 
men, the last 75 of whom committed sui- 
cide during the night of 23-24 February. 

The 5th Cavalry cleared other build- 
ings on the campus during 22 and 23 
February, and ran into some new defen- 
sive installations at University Hall, be- 
tween Rizal Hall and the Administration 
Building. Here Troop E found caves 
dug through the walls of the basement 
and could not dislodge the Japanese 
even with flame throwers. Thereupon 
engineers poured a mixture of gasoline 
and oil into the various caves and ignited 
it. That appeared to take care of the 
situation neatly, but through a misun- 
derstanding of orders Troop E withdrew 



for the night. Immediately, Japanese 
from buildings to the west reoccupied 
University Hall, which the cavalrymen 
had to recapture the next morning in a 
bitter fight. After that, only a little mop- 
ping up was necessary to complete the 
job at the university. 

The battle for the hospital-university 
strongpoint had occupied the time and 
energies of the 148th Infantry and the 
5th Cavalry for ten days. Success here 
played a major part in clearing the way 
for further advances toward Intramuros 
and the government buildings, but the 
success had been costly. The total Ameri- 
can battle casualties were roughly 60 
men killed and 445 wounded, while the 
148th Infantry alone suffered 105 non- 
battle casualties as the result of sickness, 



290 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



heat exhaustion, and combat fatigue. 22 
The rifle companies of the 2d Battalion, 
148th Infantry, which had borne the 
brunt of the fighting at the hospital, 
were each nearly 75 men understrength 
when they came out of the lines on 19 
February. 23 

For the Japanese the battle at the 
hospital-university strongpoint marked 
the virtual destruction of the Central 
Force as an organized fighting unit. The 
5th Naval Battalion and the "attached 
units" also suffered staggering losses. 
The remnants — and a sorry few they 
were— of all these Japanese units with- 
drew to the government buildings and 
Intramuros. 



22 No reliable figures for the 5th Cavalry's non- 
battle casualties can be found in available records, 
but it appears that they were in proportion to those 
of the 148th Infantry. 

23 The three companies had entered the fight with 
an average understrength of 43 men, making the net 
loss during the battle 32 men per company. The 5th 
Cavalry's troops were also understrength, but no 
usable figures can he found. 



With the capture of the university 
and hospital buildings, the New Police 
Station and associated structures, the 
Manila Hotel, the City Hall, the General 
Post Office, and the stadium area, the 
battles of the strongpoints were over. 
In their wane the 37th Infantry Division 
and the 1st Cavalry Division had left, 
inevitably and unavoidably, a series of 
destroyed and damaged public and pri- 
vate buildings. But whatever the cost 
in blood and buildings, the American 
units had successfully concluded the 
drive toward Intramuros. The last or- 
ganized survivors of the Manila Naval 
Defense Force were confined in the 
Walled City, the South Port Area, and 
the Philippine Commonwealth Govern- 
ment buildings off the southeastern 
corner of Intramuros. The 37th Divi- 
sion was now ready to begin the reduc- 
tion of this last resistance and planned 
an assault against Intramuros for 23 Feb- 
ruary, the very day that the last of the 
university strongpoint buildings fell. 



CHAPTER XVI 

Manila: The Last Resistance 



After the fighting at the strongpoints, 
the seizure of Intramuros must in some 
ways have been anticlimactical to the 
troops involved. Clearing the Walled 
City was primarily a victory of U.S. 
Army artillery, tanks, and tank destroy- 
ers over medieval Spanish walls and 
stone buildings. The subsequent reduc- 
tion of the government buildings repre- 
sented the triumph of the same weapons 
over modern, American-built, reinforced 
concrete structures. Thus, the investi- 
ture of Intramuros and the government 
buildings was a classical siege conducted 
with modern weapons. But this is not 
to detract from the part the infantry — 
and the dismounted cavalry fighting as 
infantry — played in these final phases 
of the battle for Manila. The artillery 
alone could not win the fight; as usual 
the last battle belonged to the infantry. 
Infantry had to move in to secure the 
ground the artillery had prepared, and 
infantry took many casualties before the 
battle ended. 

Intramuros 
Plans and Preparations 

Plans for the attack on Intramuros 
were long in the making, and from the 
beginning planners had to take into 
account a number of closely interrelated 



tactical considerations. 1 Available infor- 
mation led to the conclusion that the 
Japanese defenses were strongest on the 
southern and eastern sides of the Walled 
City and that the Japanese expected 
attack from these, the most logical di- 
rections. Japanese garrisons in the Legis- 
lative, Finance, and Agriculture Build- 
ings just across Padre Burgos Street 
southeast of Intramuros could cover 
these approaches. The 37th Division 
could, of course, take the government 
buildings before launching an assault 
on Intramuros, but it would be easier 
to attack the government buildings after 
Intramuros fell. 

Conversely, planners deemed it feasi- 
ble to strike into Intramuros from the 
west, since Japanese defenses along the 
west wall, across Bonifacio Street from 
the Manila Hotel and the South Port 
Area, appeared weak. But in this case, 
American troops would first have to clear 
the South Port Area and then, advancing 
from the west, would have to attack to- 
ward much of their own supporting 



1 General sources for planning information are: 
XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 114-19; XIV Corps, 
Japanese Defense of Cities, pp. 24-25; Beightler 
Comments, 18 Mar 57. Headquarters, 37th Division, 
actually did most of the detailed planning for the 
assault, consulting closely with XIV Corps head- 
quarters during the process. The division's complete 
plan was presented to and approved by Griswold 
only the day before the actual assault. 



292 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



artillery. The artillery's best positions 
for close support were on the north and 
northeast, across the Pasig, and on the 
east, in the area south from the General 
Post Office to the City Hall, and much 
of the artillery ultimately did fire from 
these areas. 

About halfway from the northeast to 
the northwest corner of Intramuros the 
ancient wall ended, providing direct ac- 
cess into the Walled City at the Govern- 
ment Mint. The only other obstacle on 
the north was a low sea wall running 
along the south bank of the Pasig, and 
Japanese defenses along the north face 
appeared weak except at the northeast 
corner. Planners therefore decided that 
there would be an excellent chance to 
execute a successful amphibious assault 
from the north bank of the Pasig against 
the north-central side of the Walled City. 
The planners realized that a prime req- 
uisite to such a move would be the em- 
placement of artillery, tanks, and tank 
destroyers to provide extremely close 
support for the attacking infantry. 

Since the 37th Division knew that the 
Japanese had devised an elaborate tun- 
nel system to move troops quickly from 
one section of Intramuros to another, 
the division considered it necessary to 
make more than one assault in order to 
keep the Japanese off balance and to 
divide their forces. The division selected 
a point near the northeastern entrance, 
Quezon Gate, as the site for the second 
assault. Because the Japanese blocked 
and covered both Quezon Gate and 
Parian Gate, 200 yards to the south, 
from strong pillboxes just inside the 
walls, the division decided it would have 
to employ heavy artillery to blast an 
additional point of entry through the 
thick wall just south of Quezon Gate. 



An assault near Quezon Gate would 
require especially strong artillery sup- 
port, because the Japanese had major 
defenses near the gate and because they 
could subject the attacking troops to 
enfilade fire from the three government 
buildings to the south. Therefore, artil- 
lery would have to neutralize the govern- 
ment buildings during the assault on 
Intramuros, and smoke would be laid 
between the government buildings and 
the east wall of Intramuros to conceal 
the attackers' movements. Finally, the 
1st Cavalry Brigade, operating to the 
west and southwest of Intramuros, would 
thwart any attempt of Japanese troops 
to escape from the Walled City. 

Planners devoted considerable atten- 
tion to the problem of timing the attack. 
They gave thought to night operations, 
both to achieve surprise and to ease some 
of the problems of amphibious assault. 
Earlier artillery fire had crumbled the 
sea wall in many places along the south 
bank of the Pasig and, as a result, much 
of that bank along the north side of 
Intramuros was rubble strewn. At high 
tide, which would occur during the dark 
of early morning and again in the early 
afternoon of 23 February, LVT's could 
make their way across the rubble, while 
landing craft could float over it in some 
places to put troops ashore on the quay 
that ran along the north side of the 
Walled City. 

But the tide could not be allowed to 
become the controlling factor. The ele- 
ment of surprise to be achieved during 
the night high tide was not of great 
moment, for the Japanese knew an as- 
sault was imminent and would be pre- 
pared for it no matter what the hour. 
Moreover, a two-pronged attack into 
such a small area demanded the closest 



MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 



293 



possible co-ordination between artillery 
support and infantry action, as well as 
among the various infantry units. Such 
co-ordination could not be achieved in 
a night assault. 

Planners also decided that the attack 
could not wait for the afternoon high 
tide. If the Japanese defenses proved 
especially strong the assault troops might 
be unable to gain a foothold within 
Intramuros before dark, a circumstance 
that might well lead to the inevitable 
shambles of a night withdrawal. Having 
weighed all the factors the 37th Division, 
with XIV Corps concurrence, finally de- 
cided to launch the assault on both the 
north and the northeast at 0830 on 23 
February. 2 

Having disposed of the problems of 
time and place, corps and division plan- 
ners still had to determine how to pre- 
pare the way for the infantry. General 
Beightler, who realized that the attack 
on Intramuros and the government 
buildings would probably prove costly, 
began to think in terms of employing 
aerial bombardment to raze the Walled 
City and the other objectives as well. 
Griswold, the corps commander, agreed 
to this plan with some reluctance after 
he had concluded that Intramuros was 
so strongly defended that the assault 
there might produce prohibitive casual- 
ties unless preceded by intensive aerial 
bombardment. 3 



5 37th Div FO 30, 22 Feb 45; Beightler Comments, 
18 Mar 57. 

8 Entry timed 2010 16 Feb 45, 37th Div G_g Jnl, 
16 Feb 45; 37th Div, Synopsis of Plan for Capturing 
Walled City, 16 Feb 45, 37th Div G-3 Jnl File, 15-19 
Feb 45; Rad, Support Air Party with 37th Div to 
Fifth Air Force, 0845 17 Feb 45, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl 
File, 17-18 Feb 45; Teletype Msg, Griswold to 
Krueger, 1410 16 Feb 45, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File, 
j f;_i6 Feb 45, General Beightler. (in Beightler Corn- 



After XIV Corps had made unsuccess- 
ful attempts to induce the Japanese 
within Intramuros to surrender or at 
least to release the many Filipino civil- 
ians they held hostage, General Griswold 
informed Krueger of the aerial bom- 
bardment plan. The corps commander 
asked Krueger for all the dive bomber 
squadrons of Marine Air Groups 24 
and 33 (from Mangaldan Field at Lm- 
gayen Gulf) and for a squadron of Fifth 
Air Force P-38's equipped to conduct 
napalm strikes. 4 

The proposals inevitably had reper- 
cussions. So far, General MacArthur had 
severely restricted the employment of 
air in the metropolitan area. In late 
January and early February Marine 
Corps SBD's had bombed or strafed a 
few pinpointed targets in the North and 
South Port Areas and had also hit some 
obvious Japanese gun positions in the 
open areas of Luneta Park and Burnham 
Green. One or two strikes may also have 
taken place against specific targets within 
Intramuros, but all in all it appears that 
planes of the Allied Air Forces flew no 
more than ten or twelve individual 
sorties against targets within the city 
after 3 February. Before that time both 
carrier-based and land-based aircraft had 
presumably limited their strikes to tar- 
gets within the port areas and to oil 
storage facilities in Pandacan and Paco 



ments, 18 Mar 57) denied that he ever had any 
intention of razing the Walled City and other ob- 
jectives, but merely wanted to raze a small portion of 
Intramuros at the northeast corner, site of the 
initial assault. This is not borne out by the messages 
cited above, and it is certain that General Griswold 
believed it was Beightler's intent to raze all of 
Intramuros. 

4 XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 1 14-16; Teletype 
Msg, Griswold to Krueger, 1410 16 Feb 45. 



294 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Districts. 5 Of course some bombs had 
gone astray during these strikes and had 
caused damage within Intramuros, 6 
while additional damage within the 
Walled City had resulted from both 
American and Japanese artillery fire 
the first two weeks of the battle for 
Manila. 

Knowing and understanding General 
MacArthur's position on the destruction 
of Manila — and large sections of the 
city had already been battered beyond 
recognition — Krueger sought the theater 
commander's views on the proposed air 
attacks, stating that XIV Corps' request 
would be approved unless MacArthur 
objected. 7 

General MacArthur did indeed object: 

The use of air on a part of a city 
occupied by a friendly and allied popula- 
tion is unthinkable. The inaccuracy of 
this type of bombardment would result be- 
yond question in the death of thousands of 
innocent civilians. It is not believed more- 
over that this would appreciably lower our 
own casualty rate although it would un- 
questionably hasten the conclusion of the 
operations. For these reasons I do not ap- 
prove the use of air bombardment on the 
Intramuros district. 8 



11 Practically no information on air operations in 
the Manila area after 3 February can be found in 
available documents, although earlier strikes by 
carrier-based planes are well documented. For the 
period 3-23 February, see: Teletype Msg, G-2 Sixth 
Army to G-3 XIV Corps, Mission Rpt, 10 Feb 45, 
XIV Corps G-sf Jul File Luzon, 10 Feb 45 (Classified 
Folder); Boggs, Marine Aviation in the Philippines, 
p. 86; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 57. 

* A Third Fleet photograph, taken during a strike 
by Third Fleet planes, also showed a bomb hole in 
the roof of the Legislative Building. 

7 Rad, Krueger to MacArthur, WG-417, 16 Feb 45, 
Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 14-16 Feb 45. 

8 Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CA-50503, 16 Feb 
45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 16-18 Feb 45. 
It is interesting to note that this radio implies that 
General MacArthur did not know that both land- 



Griswold and Beightler were not will- 
ing to attempt the assault with infantry 
alone. Not expressly enjoined from em- 
ploying artillery, they now planned a 
massive artillery preparation that would 
last from 17 to 23 February and would 
include indirect fire at ranges up to 
8,000 yards as well as direct, point-blank 
fire from ranges as short as 250 yards. 
They would employ all available corps 
and division artillery, from 240-mm. 
howitzers down. In addition, 75-mm. 
tank weapons, 76-mm. tank destroyer 
guns, and infantry 105-mm. self-pro- 
pelled mounts would be used for point- 
blank fire. Organic infantry 81-mm. and 
fio-mtn. mortars and 4.2-inch chemical 
mortars would add the weight of their 
fires, while from high buildings such 
as the City Hall and office buildings on 
the north side of the Pasig infantry 
heavy and light machine guns would 
blanket the walls and interior of Intra- 
muros before the assault. 8 Just how 
civilian lives could be saved by this type 
of preparation, as opposed to aerial bom- 
bardment, is unknown. The net result 
would be the same: Intramuros would 
be practically razed. 

The bombardment of Intramuros in 
preparation for the actual assault began 
on 17 February when 8-inch howitzers, 
with indirect fire, started blasting a 
breach in the east wall, which, at the 
point of breaching, was 40 feet thick at 
the base, 16 feet high, and about 20 feet 
across the top. This was by no means 
the first artillery fire directed at Intra- 
muros. In support of previous opera- 
tions throughout the city, 37th Division 



based and carrier-based aircraft had previously hit 
parts of Manila. 

* 37th Div FO 30, 33 Feb 45; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, 
PP- 77-79- 



MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 



295 



and XIV Corps Artillery had earlier 
fired on pinpointed targets, mainly Japa- 
nese artillery and mortar positions, 
throughout the Walled City. Consider- 
able damage to the ancient buildings 
had already resulted, and by the time 
the assault preparation began most of 
the Japanese artillery and mortars had 
long since been knocked out. 10 

The 8-inch howitzers of Battery C, 
465th Field Artillery Battalion, made a 
neat breach in the central portion of the 
east wall between Parian and Victoria 
Gates with 150 rounds of high explosive. 
Later, a single 155 mm. howitzer of the 
756th Field Artillery, firing at a range of 
about 800 yards, started blasting away 
to form the planned breach south of 
Quezon Gate. With 150 rounds this 
weapon produced a break 50 feet long 
that extended about 10 feet down from 
the top of the wall. An 8-inch howitzer 
smoothed out the resulting pile of debris 
at the outer base of the wall with 29 
rounds of indirect fire, making an easy 
ramp. 

The 240-mm. howitzers of Battery C, 
544th Field Artillery, began bombard- 
ment to breach the north wall and knock 
out a Japanese strongpoint at the Gov- 
ernment Mint on the morning of 22 
February, 8-inch howitzers lending a 
hand from time to time. The 76-mm. 
guns of a platoon of the 637th Tank 
Destroyer Battalion used point-blank fire 
from across the Pasig to blast footholds 
along the south quay and in the rubble 
along the river's bank in order to provide 
the assault troops with landing points. 11 

11 Entry timed 0930 13 Feb 45 and Entry timed 
0930 17 Feb 45, 37th Div G-3 Jul, 13 and 17 Feb 45; 
XIV Corps Arty Rpt Luzon, p. 11. 

11 XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 1 16, 1 19-20; XIV 
Corps Arty Rpt Luzon, p. 12; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, 
PP- 77-79; 75 6t h FA Bn Rpt Luzon, p. 6. 



Throughout the night of 22-23 Feb- 
ruary, in advance of a final barrage 
before the infantry assault the next 
morning, 37th Division and XIV Corps 
Artillery kept up harassing fires against 
the walls and interior of Intramuros. 12 
Meanwhile, during the 22d, more guns 
moved into firing positions. As of morn- 
ing on the 23d artillery to fire in support 
of the ass ault was disposed as shown in 



Table 3. | In addition, many of the 105- 
mm. SPM's of the 37th Division's three 
cannon companies took up positions 
along the north bank of the Pasig or 
east of Intramuros. The 148th Infantry 
set up twenty-six heavy and light ma- 
chine guns in buildings north of the 
river to provide cover for the men of the 
129th who were to make the amphibious 
assault. The 145th Infantry, which was 
to attack overland from the east, would 
have cover from its own machine guns, 
which would fire from such points of 
vantage as the upper floors of the City 
Hall. 

The final preparatory barrage lasted 
from 0730 to 0830 on the 23d. Using 
both area and point fire, the artillery, 
tanks, TD's, SPM's, and mortars plas- 
tered the walls of Intramuros and cov- 
ered the entire interior except for a 
section roughly three blocks wide and 
four blocks long in the west-central por- 
tion of the Walled City. At 0830 the 



"The remainder of the subsection is based upon: 
XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I. pp. 120-21; XIV Corps, 
Japanese Defense of Cities, p. 25; XIV Corps Arty 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 11-12, 16; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 
77—81; 37th Div Arty Rpt Luzon, p. 12; ibid., app. 5, 
Action in Manila; ibid., aop. 6, Preparation for 
Assault on Intramuros; ibid,, app. 7, Arty Direct 
Fire Positions; 37th Div G-3 Per Rpt 4G, 22-23 Feb 
45, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File, 23-24 Feb 45; ACofS 
G-3 Sixth Army, Rpt on Obsns of Attack on 
Intramuros, Sixth Army G— 3 Jnl File Luzon, 22—23 
Feb 45- 



296 TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 

Table 3— Artillery in Support or the Assault on Intramuros 



Units and Their Location! 



Weaponi 



North Bank of Pasig 

Battery B, 136th Field Artillery 4 155-mm. howitzers 

6th Field Artillery 12 105-mm. howitzers 

Platoon 637th TD Battalion 4 76-mm. guns 

East of Intramuros 

Battery A, 136th Field Artillery 4 155-mm. howitzers 

Battery A, 140th Field Artillery 4 105-mm. howitzers 

One piece, 756th Field Artillery 1 155-mm. howitzer 

Six tanks, 754th Tank Battalion 6 75-mm. tank guns 

Two platoons, 637th TD Battalion 8 76-mm. guns 

Division and Corps Artillery at Rear Positions 

Companies A & D, 82d Chemical Mortar Battalion 24 4.2-inch mortars 

135th Field Artillery 12 105-mm. howitzers 

82d Field Artillery 12 105-mm. howitzers 

Batteries B & C, 140th Field Artillery 8 105-mm. howitzers 

Battery C, 136th Field Artillery 4 155-mm. howitzers 

756th Field Artillery (less 1 weapon) 11 155-mm. howitzers 

Battery C, 465th Field Artillery 4 8-inch howitzers 

Battery C, 544th Field Artillery 2 240-mm. howitzers 

Source: Relevant source* cited in |n. I2.| 



support fire ceased, and the infantry 
assault began. Ten minutes later artil- 
lery began firing again, this time laying 
the high explosive, smoke, and white 
phosphorus along a 100-yard-wide strip 
between the east and west walls to seal 
off the southern third of Intramuros and 
prevent the Japanese in that area from 
observing movements to the north or 
sending reinforcements northward. This 
fire laste d approximately half an hour. 



Table 4 gives the amounts of artillery 
hre expended in support of the assault. 
The total weight of the artillery fire was 
roughly 185 tons, to which the 4.2-inch 
mortars of Companies A and D, 82d 
Chemical Mortar Battalion, added about 



45 tons— over 3,750 rounds — of smoke 
and high explosive. 1 * 

XIV Corps Artillery reported that by 
reason of their great accuracy the 8-inch 
howitzers were the best weapon used 
against the walls while the 240-mm. 
howitzers, with their heavier and more 
powerful projectile, proved most effec- 
tive against buildings. With 155-mm. 
howitzers, considerable advantages 
seemed to have accrued by employing 
unfuzed high-explosive shells to open 



** No breakdowns between the two types of 4-s-inch 
ammunition can be found, nor do available records 
contain complete information on the ammunition 
expenditures of the infantry 105-mm. self-propelled 
mounts, infantry mortars, and infantry machine guns. 



MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 297 



Table 4 — Artillery Expended in Support of the Assault on Intramuros 



Caliber 


Rounds 




High- 


Armor- 


Smoke and White 




Explosive 


Piercing 


Phosphorus 


75-mm. tank guns 


450 


150 






450 


150 




105-mm, field artillery howitzers 


4,753 




93 


155-mm. field artillery howitzers 


1,723 




23 




39 






S-inch howitzers 


72 






Total 


7,487 


300 


116 



Source: Relevant sources cited in|n. 12. 



fissures in the walls, since the unfu7.ee! 
shells penetrated more deeply before ex- 
plosion than did those with impact or 
delayed fuze settings. The fissure thus 
opened was easily enlarged by subse- 
quent employment of high-explosive 
shells with delayed settings. 

The Assault 

Troops of the 3d Battalion, 129th In- 
fantry, had begun loading aboard assault 
boats manned by the 117th Engineers 
about 0820 on 23 February, their line 
of departure the mouth of the Estero 
de Bin ondo, opp osite the Government 
Mint, 14 \(Map y)\ The first boats reached 
the south shore unopposed between 0835 
and 0840, and the infantry quickly 
dashed through and by the Mint into 
Intramuros. Putting its left on Beaterio 



14 The principal sources for this subsection are: 
XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 120-2C; 37th Div 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 77-83; 37th Div G-3 Per Rpts 46-49, 
23-26 Feb 45; 117th Lngr Bn Hist, 4 Feb-g Mar 45, 
pp. 5-6; 129th Inf Hist 1810-1945, pp. 67-68; 129th 
Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 7; ugth Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 23-27 
Feb 45; 145th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 30-33; 145th Inf 
S-i Jnl, 23 Feb-4 Mar 45; 145th Inf S-3 Jnl, 23 Feb- 
4 Mar 45; 145th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 23 Feb-4 Mar 45- 



Street, which ran northeast to southwest, 
the 3d Battalion swung its right toward 
Fort Santiago, at the northwest corner 
of Intramuros. The battalion estab- 
lished contact with the 145th Infantry 
about 0850 at Letran University, at the 
northeast corner. 

As the American troops drove further 
into Intramuros, the Japanese began to 
recover from the shock of the artillery 
bombardment and to offer scattered re- 
sistance from isolated machine gun and 
rifle positions. Company I, 129th In- 
fantry, on the left, and Company L, in 
the center, reached the west wall shortly 
after 1200, having suffered no casualties 
and having killed only 10 Japanese on 
the way. The battalion soon isolated 
resistance in its sector to Fort Santiago, 
toward which Company L, attacking 
along the west wall and through adja- 
cent buildings, turned. Company K had 
some difficulty reaching the west wall in 
the area south of Fort Santiago but got 
its right on the wall to make contact 
with Companies I and L late in the day. 
In concert, the three rifle companies 
cleared the west wall north from Bea- 
terio Street. About 1830 Company K 



298 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




made contact with elements of the ist 
Cavalry Brigade in the South Port Area, 
beyond the west wall. 

Company L had a nasty fight on its 
hands at Fort Santiago. The preassault 
artillery bombardment had demolished 
the outlying defenses of this ancient 
Spanish citadel and had also battered 
the walls of the fort proper. The Japa- 
nese inside had retired into inner re- 
cesses, a few undamaged outbuildings, 
some subterranean dungeons, tunnels, 
and holes. One by one, the 129th Infan- 
try reduced the separate strongpoints — 
no co-ordinated defense existed — with 



fragmentation and white phosphorus 
grenades, demolitions, bazookas, and 
flame throwers. In a few instances en- 
gineers poured gasoline or oil into holes 
and dungeons and then ignited it. Com- 
pany L had actually surrounded and 
entered the fort quickly, but faced a 
bitter battle throughout the afternoon 
and had to leave mopping up for the 
morrow. 

The 145th Infantry's experiences dur- 
ing the day were not dissimilar. Clam- 
bering across the breach south of Quezon 
Gate and then through the gate itself, 
the two leading platoons of the 2d Bat- 



MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 



299 




Objective — The Walled City 



talion, 145th, were within Intramuros 
at 0833 without a casualty. Following 
troops walked through Quezon and 
Parian Gates unopposed, and by 1030 
the battalion had secured the first two 
blocks southwest of Quezon Gate and 
had cleared the damaged building of 
Letran University. Fifteen minutes 
later the 1st Battalion came through 
Parian Gate. The two units then started 
southward with the 2d Battalion's right 
on Beatcrio Street, in contact with the 
129th Infantry, and the 1st Battalion's 
left along the east wall. 

Progress slowed as troops sought cover 



from automatic weapons and rifle fire 
originating in the southern section of 
Intramuros. At 1300 the two battalions 
were four blocks southwest of Quezon 
Gate and had established a line stretch- 
ing from Beaterio almost to the east 
wall. At this juncture the advance 
stopped as the Japanese began letting 
nearly 3,000 civilian hostages dribble 
out of San Augustin and Del Monico 
Churches, farther south. The refugees 
were women, children, and some Roman 
Catholic nuns and priests. There were 
very few male civilians in the group — 
the 129th Infantry had discovered most 



300 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



of the men dead in Fort Santiago's dun- 
geons, where the Japanese had murdered 
them. 15 

After the civilian evacuation was com- 
plete, American tanks and self-propelled 
mounts fired on Japanese positions with- 
in the two churches and at other strong- 
points in the southwestern section of 
Intramuros, including a few pillboxes. 
Against stubborn opposition, troops of 
the 145th Infantry were unable to reach 
the south or west walls before dark, and 
the two battalions halted for the night 
generally two blocks short of the west 
wall and four short of the southwest 
corner of Intramuros. 

The casualties of the 145th Infantry's 
two battalions for 23 February num- 
bered about 15 men killed and 45 
wounded; the regiment had killed some 
190 Japanese and captured 20 Formosan 
labor troops. 16 

By 1030 on 34 February the 145th In- 
fantry had compressed the last resistance 
in its zone into the Aquarium, located 
in a bastion off the southwest corner of 
Intramuros. Since Japanese holed up in 
the government buildings across Padre 
Burgos Street covered the Aquarium's 
outer walls with rifle and machine gun 
fire, the 145th Infantry was hard put to 
devise a plan of attack until the 1st Bat- 
talion discovered a tunnel connecting 
the bastion to the main wall. Company 
C used the tunnel as an assault route, 
while the rest of the Battalion provided 
fire support for the attack from the 
south wall and Cannon Company SPM's 
conducted a preparatory shelling. The 
Japanese neglected to defend the tunnel 

15 The fact of this atrocity is well documented in 
such sources as USA vsi Yamashita. 

" Entry 1434, 1840 23 Feb 45, 145th Inf S-g Jnl, 23 
Feb 45. 



approach, and Company C, employing 
hand grenades and bazookas liberally, 
broke into the Aquarium with little 
trouble. The final assault began about 
1600. An hour and a half and 1 15 dead 
Japanese later, the 145th Infantry had 
overcome the last organized resistance 
within Intramuros. 

The 3d Battalion, 129th Infantry, on 
24 February, finished mopping up at 
Fort Santiago, and continued to mop up 
and patrol in its zone until noon the 
next day, when it had to withdraw to get 
out of the line of fire of artillery units 
supporting infantry attacks against the 
government buildings to the east and 
southeast. The battalion returned to 
Intramuros when this fire ceased and re- 
sumed its search of the rubble until the 
145th Infantry relieved it about noon on 
the 27th. 

The casualties of the 3d Battalion, 
129th Infantry, were amazingly low con- 
sidering the opposition the unit met at 
Fort Santiago. The battalion reported 
that it lost about 5 men killed and 25 
wounded in Intramuros; it killed per- 
haps 500 Japanese, 400 of them at Fort 
Santiago alone. The 145th Infantry suf- 
fered more heavily at Intramuros from 
23 February through 1 March, when the 
regiment passed to the control of the 
Provost Marshal General, United States 
Army Forces in the Far East, for police 
duties in Manila. The 145th Infantry's 
casualties were approximately 20 men 
killed and 240 wounded, while the regi- 
ment killed or found dead some 760 
Japanese. 

The 37th Division's total losses — 
roughly 25 killed and 265 wounded — 
during the reduction of Intramuros 
were quite low in comparison to the 
Japanese losses. The infantry units alone 



MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 



301 




Intramuros After the Battle 



killed over 1,000 Japanese and took 25 
prisoner. This hardly provides an ac- 
curate figure of Japanese strength in 
Intramuros. All infantry reports are ex- 
tremely generous to the supporting artil- 
lery and mortar units — both the infantry 
records and eyewitness accounts indicate 
that the artillery preparation fire from 
17 February through the morning of the 
23d killed many hundreds of Japanese. It 
would not, indeed, he surprising to learn 
the Japanese garrison numbered over 
2,000 troops on 17 February. 

Manifestly, artillery had done an un- 
usually effective job at Intramuros, and 
one proof of the effectiveness of the 
bombardment was the fact that Ameri- 
can infantry casualties were so low in 



comparison with the Japanese losses. 
That the artillery had also almost razed 
the ancient Walled City could not be 
helped. To the XIV Corps and the 37th 
Division at this stage of the battle for 
Manila, American lives were under- 
standably far more valuable than his- 
toric landmarks. The destruction had 
stemmed from the American decision to 
save lives in a battle against Japanese 
troops who had decided to sacrifice theirs 
as dearly as possible. 

The Government Buildings 

While part of the 37th Division had 
been clearing Intramuros, other troops 
of that division as well as the men of the 



302 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



attached ist Cavalry Brigade had been 
devoting their attention to the govern- 
ment buildings and to the South Port 
Area, Between 23 and 25 February the 
1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry, and the 2d 
Squadron, 5th Cavalry, cleared the South 
Port Area against opposition that was rel- 
atively light except at one strongpoint. 17 
Most of the Japanese troops in the area 
were Formosan, Chinese, and Korean 
labor personnel, of whom almost 250 
surrendered on 24 February alone. With 
poor morale and poorer armament, they 
inflicted few casualties upon the cavalry- 
men, who finished their job rapidly. 

Far different was the action at "the 
government buildings, where the 1st 
Squadron, 5th Cavalry, and elements of 
the 148th Infantry had contained Japa- 
nese forces during the fighting for In- 
tramuros and the South Port Area. 18 
The imposing, columned facade of the 
Philippine Commonwealth's Legislative 
Building — the Philippine Capitol — 
fronted on Padre Burgos Street opposite 
the southeast corner of Intramuros and 
lay 150 yards south of the City Hall. 
About 100 yards south of the Legislative 
Building was the Bureau of Finance, and 
another 250 yards to the south-southeast, 
near the intersection of General Luna 
and San Luis Streets, lay the main build- 
ing of the Bureau of Agriculture and 
Commerce. 

Despite the fact that the Japanese in 
the three buildings had advantages of 

1T For saving his troop commander's life at the cost 
of his own during the fight at this strongpoint, the 
Customs House, Pfc. William J. Grabiarz of Troop 
E, 5th Cavalry, was posthumously awarded the Medal 
of Honor. 

19 Background and planning information in this 
section is from: XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 127; 
XIV Corps, Japanese Defense of Cities, pp. 22-23; 
37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 81-84; 37 tn ^' lv > Field Msg 
4, 27 Feb 45, 37th Div G-3 Jnl File, 25 Feb-6 Mar 45. 



position and elevation that permitted 
them to endanger American and Fili- 
pino movements over large areas of Ma- 
nila, the XIV Corps and the 37th 
Division at first considered starving the 
Japanese garrison out. But the two 
headquarters soon decided this would 
take too long. Information from prison- 
ers and Filipino hostages who had es- 
caped from the buildings indicated that 
the Japanese garrisons in the three struc- 
tures had sufficient strength, ammuni- 
tion, food, and water to withstand a 
protracted siege. Moreover, to permit 
the Japanese to hold the buildings would 
unduly delay the development of base 
and headquarters sites in the area that 
Japanese machine gunners and riflemen 
could dominate. Accordingly, Generals 
Griswold and Beightler reluctantly con- 
cluded that they would have to call upon 
their battle-weary troops to assault the 
buildings. 

The strength of the three Japanese 
garrisons is unknown, and it is probable 
that the numbers of Japanese within 
each building varied considerably. The 
headquarters of one of Admiral Iwa- 
buchi's Central Force battalions had op- 
erated in the Legislative Building, 19 and 
the garrison there probably numbered 
over 250 men as of 23 February. Ap- 
parently, the garrisons in the other two 
buildings were smaller, but permanence 
of abode was not one of the character- 
istics of the Japanese naval troops in the 
three structures. During the last phases 
of the battle for Manila Japanese con- 
trol had broken down almost completely, 
and even before the siege of the govern- 
ment buildings and Intramuros Japanese 
troops had rather aimlessly wandered 



"Hashimoto Statement, States, II, 278-81. 



MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 



303 



back and forth between the buildings 
and Intramuros and among the three 
buildings. 

Architecturally similar to the old Sen- 
ate and House Office Buildings in 
Washington, D.C., the three government 
structures were modern, earthquake- 
proof edifices constructed of heavily 
reinforced concrete. 20 The oblong Leg- 
islative Building, with wings four stories 
high and a central portion rising an- 
other two and a half floors, was con- 
structed around two open courtyards. 
The Finance and Agriculture Buildings, 
both five-story trapezoids, each featured 
a central courtyard. The buildings were 
strong not only by virtue of their con- 
struction but because all approaches to 
them led across wide open ground. 
Sandbag emplacements and barricades of 
other types blocked all readily accessible 
doors and windows, and window-em- 
placed machine guns covered all ap- 
proaches. Interior fortifications were 
similar to those XIV Corps troops had 
already encountered throughout Manila. 

The XIV Corps~37th Division plan of 
assault called for intensive preparatory 
bombardment of each building by 155- 
mm. howitzers, Cannon Company 105- 
mm. SPM's, 75-mm. tank guns, 76-mm. 
TD weapons, and 4. 2-inch and 81 -mm. 
mortars. Upon the completion of bom- 
bardments, the 148th Infantry, 37th 
Division, would attack first the Legisla- 
tive Building and then move on to seize 
the Finance Building. The 5th Cavalry 
would simultaneously reduce the Agri- 
culture Building. Artillery fire was to 
begin on the morning of 24 February; 



M The exterior of the Finance Building, for exam- 
ple, bore a striking resemblance to the Old Senate 
Office Building in Washington. 



the first infantry assaults would not take 
place until the morning of the 26th. 
Undeniably, the preparatory bombard- 
ments would lead to the severe damage, 
if not the destruction, of all three build- 
ings, but again XIV Corps really had 
no choice. 

The 155-mm. howitzers of the 136th 
Field Artillery Battalion, providing 
point-blank fire at ranges from 150 to 
800 yards, proved the most effective 
weapon during the preassault bombard- 
ment. 21 To the artillerymen concerned, 
the credit and honor that thus accrued 
to them was hardly commensurate with 
the risks involved. Bringing its weapons 
forward to exposed positions where only 
the thin gun shield provided any protec- 
tion from Japanese fire, the 136th Field 
Artillery gained a quick appreciation of 
the facts of life as seen by the infantry 
and cavalry. By the time the last of the 
government buildings had fallen, the ar- 
tillery battalion had lost 5 men killed 
and 54 wounded to Japanese machine 
gun and rifle fire. 

Shortly after 0900 on 26 February, 
following a final hour's artillery prepara- 
tion, troops of the 1st Battalion, 148th 
Infantry, entered the ground floor of the 
Legislative Building from the rear, or 
east. 22 Inside, the Japanese conducted a 



11 Information on support fires comes mainly from: 
37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 83-86; 37th Div G-g Per 
Rpts 47—51, 24— s8 Feb 45; 37th Div Arty Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 12-13; ibid., app. 7, Arty Direct Fire Positions; 
136th FA Bn Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 19-23. 

53 Further information on the reduction of the 
buildings is from: XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 
130-34; 148th Inf Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 9-10; 148th 
Inf S_3 Per Rpts, 25 Feb-2 Mar 45; 148th Inf S-3 Jnl, 
25 Feb-2 Mar 45; 148th Inf S-i Per Rpts, 26 Feb-3 
Mar 45; 5th Cav Rpt Luzon, pp. 27-29; ibid., an. 4, 
Casualties; 5th Cav S-2/S-3 Jnl, 26 Feb-i Mar 45; 
5th Cav S-2 and S-3 Per Rpts, 2G Feb-i Mar 45. 



304 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 








f 11(11 


[Hi 




Legislative Building — Before 



defense as stubborn as that the Ameri- 
cans had encountered anywhere in Ma- 
nila, and by 1300 the 1st Battalion had 
secured only the first floor of the north 
wing and the first and second floors of 
the central section. Then, "exceedingly 
heavy resistance" stopped the attack com- 
pletely. 23 Since it appeared that further 
effort could produce only many casual- 
ties and little or no progress, the troops 
withdrew behind smoke. The day's at- 
tacks had cost the 148th Infantry 2 men 
killed and 52 wounded. 

On the morning of 27 February 
artillery and mortars attempted to smoke 
the Japanese out of the building. This 
failed, and 155-mm. howitzers and 105- 
mm. SPM's thereupon resumed point- 



1 37th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 85. 



blank fire for about two hours. At the 
end of this bombardment, the north 
wing had been demolished and the south 
wing had been damaged beyond repair. 
Only the battered central portion, roof- 
less and gutted, still stood above its 
wings like a ghost arising from between 
toppled tombstones. 

Just after 1400 on the 27th the 1st 
Battalion, 148th Infantry, attacked again 
and by 1600 had retaken the sorry rem- 
nants of the first floor. The battalion 
cleaned out the rest of the building ex- 
cept for isolated pockets in the basement 
by 1800, and completed mopping up 
before noon on the 28th. By that time 
the battalion had lost another 7 men 
Wounded. 

Meanwhile, the 5th Cavalry had 
assaulted the Agriculture Building. On 
the 26th, behind artillery support, the 



MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 



305 




Legislative Building — After 



regiment attacked twice, but fire from a 
suicide-bent detachment of Japanese 
riflemen in the nearby San Luis Terrace 
Apartments forced the cavalrymen to 
seek cover after they had lost about 5 
men killed and 30 wounded. The next 
day, losing another 15 men wounded, 
the 5th Cavalry cleaned out the apart- 
ment house and a few neighboring build- 
ings in preparation for another assault 
on the Agriculture Building on the 28th. 

Action on the 28th began with a three- 
hour preparatory artillery bombardment 
on the following schedule: 

0800—0900 155-mm. point-blank fire 
from the west and north 

0900-1000 75-mm. tank fire and 76- 
mm. tank destroyer fire, also 
point-blank, from the south 
and east 

1000-1100 155-mm. point-blank fire 
from the west and north 



The howitzers, tanks, and tank destroy- 
ers, so as to avoid endangering troops 
attacking the other two government 
buildings, aimed none of their fires 
higher than the first floor. As a result, 
much of the Agriculture Building col- 
lapsed on its own first floor. By 1 100 the 
bombardment had disintegrated the en- 
tire northeastern corner and had dam- 
aged beyond repair the rest of the 
building. The destruction appeared so 
complete that as the cavalrymen moved 
in from the south they felt that not a 
single Japanese could be alive amid the 
mass of twisted steel and concrete rubble. 

Encountering no opposition, the 
troopers easily gained access to the re- 
mains of the first floor, but soon ran into 
strong resistance from pockets at the 
northwest and southeast corners, A tank 
mounting a flame thrower thereupon 



306 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



came forward to reduce a pillbox at the 
southeast corner of the building, while 
other tanks lumbered forward to cover 
all sides of the structure with point-blank 
75-mm. fire. Using small arms, bazookas, 
and portable flame throwers, the 5th 
Cavalry cleared the above-ground ruins 
by dusk, but left a few Japanese hidden 
in basement holes. On 1 March, after a 
surrender appeal had failed, demolitions 
and burning gasoline and oil took care 
of the last Japanese resistance. 

The 5th Cavalry reckoned that it had 
killed at least 150 Japanese during the 
assault, that artillery fire had killed 
many more, and that riflemen had cut 
down others as they tried to escape dur- 
ing the preceding five nights. The 5th 
Cavalry's own casualties during the re- 
duction of the Agriculture Building were 
7 men killed and 75 wounded. 

Just as the 1st Cavalry Division had 
had the honor of first entering Manila, 
the 37th Infantry Division now had the 
honor of reducing the last organized 
resistance within the city, that in the 
Finance Building, Throughout 28 Feb- 
ruary and 1 March 155-mm. artillery, 
105-mm. SPM's, 76-mm. TD's, and 75- 
mm. tank guns lambasted the Finance 
Building from all angles. About 1430 on 
1 March the fire stopped as a loudspeaker 
blared forth an invitation to surrender. 
Twenty-two Japanese responded. 24 

After another bombardment lasting 
from 0800 to 1000 on 2 March, the 1st 
Battalion, 148th Infantry, began an as- 
sault, but halted when three more Japa- 
nese came out under a white flag. The 



54 The 148th originally planned to attack at 1430 
on 1 March, but the surrender appeal postponed the 
effort, 148th Inf, Plan for Assault on Finance Bldg, 
28 Feb 45, in 37th Div G-3 Jnl File, 25 Feb-6 Mar 45. 



Japanese remaining inside took advan- 
tage of the lull to open up with machine 
gun and rifle fire, catching many of the 
assault troops in exposed positions. Com- 
pletely disgusted, the infantry withdrew 
for a final artillery and tank barrage, 
which lasted until 1300. At the end of 
this concentration the Finance Building 
was a shambles; the portions not knocked 
down seemed to be standing only from 
sheer force of habit. 

What proved to be the final attack 
began at 1300, and by dark only a small 
pocket on the top floor remained to be 
eliminated the next day. This last effort 
cost the 148th Infantry 1 man killed and 
13 wounded. About 75 Japanese were 
killed within the Finance Building on 2 
and 3 March. 

Late on 3 March, after he had made 
sure that all opposition in the Intra- 
muros and government buildings area 
had been eliminated, General Griswold 
happily reported to General Krueger 
that organized resistance in the Manila 
area had ceased. 35 This information the 
Sixth Army commander relayed to Gen- 
eral MacArthur the next day. 26 The 
Battle of Manila was over. 

Conclusions 

The cost of retaking Manila had not 
been light. XIV Corps lost over 1,000 
men killed and 5,500 wounded in the 
metropolitan area from 3 February 
through 3 March. The breakdown 
among major units is shown in |Table 5.] 

The Japanese lost some 16,000 men 
killed in and around Manila. Of this 



!t Rad, Griswold to Krueger, 2030 3 Mar 45, Sixth 
Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1—3 Mar 45. 

M Rad, Krueger to MacArthur, WG-107, 4 Mar 45, 
Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 3-5 Mar 45. 



MANILA: THE LAST RESISTANCE 



507 



Table 5- — Casualties in Battle for Manila 



Unit 


Killed 


Wounded 


Total 
Casualties 




300 


2,700 


3,000 


1st Cavalry Division 


250 


1,250 


1,500 




210 


865 


1,075 


XIV Corps troops , . , , , , 


250 


750 


1,000 


Total 


1,010 


5,565 


6,575 



Source: Based upon a study of relevant corps, divisional, and regimental sources, all of "which, as usual, provide contradictory and irrec- 
oncilable information. 



total the Manila Naval Defense Force 
lost at least 12,500 men, the remainder 
of Admiral Iwabuchi's 17,000-man gar- 
rison having escaped across the Marikina 
River. The other 3,500 men killed were 
members o£ various Shimbu Group units 
overrun on the periphery of the metro- 
politan area or chopped down during 
the abortive counterattack effort. 37 Japa- 
nese equipment captured in the Manila 
ar ea, either i ntact or damaged, is shown 
in |Table g\ 

The cost of the battle for Manila can- 
not be measured in military terms alone. 
The city was a shambles after the battle 
was over— much of it destroyed, damaged 
beyond repair, or reparable only at great 
expense in time and money. The public 
transportation system no longer existed; 
the water supply and sewage systems 
needed extensive repairs; the electric 
power facilities did not function; most 
of the streets needed repaving; 39 of 100 
or more large and small bridges had 



51 These figures are estimates based upon a study 
of relevant Japanese and American sources previously 
cited. As might be expected, the claims of all U.S. 
units engaged provide a total divorced from reality 
and far greater than the strength of the Japanese 
garrison in the metropolitan area. 



been destroyed, including the 6 over the 
Pasig River. 

The University of the Philippines and 
the Philippine General Hospital were 
largely irreparable. Lower class residen- 
tial districts north of the Pasig and upper 
class apartments south of the river had 
been destroyed; the Philippine Common- 
wealth's government's center had been 
wiped out; the 400-year-old landmark of 
Intramuros had been nearly ra/ed; severe 
damage had been inflicted on the eco- 
nomically important installations in the 
North and South Port Areas; the indus- 
trialized Paco and Pandacan Districts 
had been badly battered. Many build- 
ings still standing would ultimately have 
to be torn down as unsafe for occupancy. 
Millions upon millions of dollars' worth 
of damage had been done and, as a final 
shocking note of tragedy, an estimated 
100,000 Filipino civilians had lost their 
lives during the battle. 

In brief, Manila's economic, political, 
and social life would have to start over 
almost from scratch. For a city left in 
Manila's condition there could be no 
return to normalcy — instead, a new nor- 
malcy would ultimately develop. The 
Battle of Manila was indeed over, but its 
effects would long be felt. 



308 TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Table 6 — Japanese Equipment Captured in Manila Area 



Caliber and Type Number 



7.7-mm,, 7. 92-mm., and 13-mm. machine guns, various mounts «600 

20-mm. dismounted aircraft machine cannon and antiaircraft weapons 990 

25-mm. machine cannon, various mounts 110 

37-mm. guns, various mounts IS 

40-mm. antiaircraft guns, various mounts . IS 

47-mm. antitank weapons , , . , 5 

75- mm. field artillery and antiaircraft guns 10 

76- mm. (3-inch) naval guns IS 

100-mm. and 105-mm. guns and howitzers , 10 

120-mm. dual-purpose naval guns 60 

127-mm. (5-inch) guns 5 

lSO-mm. (6-inch) weapons - S 

150-mm. mortars , , . , 5 

200-mm, rocket launchers 5 



a Minimum estimate. 

Source: XIV Corps Arty Rpt Luion, p. 10; 37th Div Arty Rpt Luzon, app. 4, Japanese Arty in Sector of 37th Div During Advance to 
and Capture of Manila: XIV Corps, Japanese Defense of Cities, p. 11; 11th A/B Div Rpt Luzon, p. 29; 1st Cav Div G-2 Summary Luzon, 
p. 40. The calibers listed for some of the artillery pieces are open to question— for example, the 6-inch v«, 150-mm. 



CHAPTER XVII 

Back to Bataan 



The Plans for Opening Manila Bay 

Although the seizure of Manila had 
gained important military advantages 
for the Allies, the exploitation of those 
advantages would be severely limited 
until MacArthur's forces also secured 
Manila Bay. It availed little to have 
captured Manila's port, railhead, and 
storage facilities if access to those facil- 
ities could not be obtained by sea — even 
repairs to port and transportation instal- 
lations would have to wait until Manila 
Bay was safe for Allied shipping. 

The necessity for developing Manila's 
base facilities became more pressing 
with each passing day. The Lingayen 
Gulf beaches and the temporary subbase 
established at Nasugbu Bay for the nth 
Airborne Division were strained to the 
utmost to support Sixth Army. An ex- 
tended period of bad weather would 
make it next to impossible to continue 
moving supplies over the Lingayen 
beaches and down the Central Plains, 
and the rainy season was approaching. 

During the battle for Manila XIV 
Corps had cleared the eastern shore of 
Manila Bay. To assure the security of 
the rest of the bay, it would be neces- 
sary to clear Bataan Peninsula, forming 
the bay's western shore; Corregidor Is- 
land, lying across the entrance to the 
bay; smaller islands off the southwest- 



ern shore; and, finally, the southwestern 
shore itself from Cavite to Ternate, an 
area the nth Airborne Division had by- 
passed during its drive on Manila from 
the south. 

On the eve of the entry into Manila, 
General Krueger had asked General 
MacArthur if GHQ SWPA had devel- 
oped any plans for opening Manila Bay. 1 
At that time it had appeared to Krueger 
that the capture of Manila might not 
take long and that XIV Corps would 
soon be able to participate in operations 
to clear the bay's shores. Moreover, XI 
Corps had recently landed on the west 
coast of Luzon northwest of Bataan. XI 
Corps, it seemed, would soon establish 
contact with XIV Corps in the Central 
Plains and would then be ready to turn 
its attention toward Bataan, securing 
the bay's western shore. 

General MacArthur informed Krueger 
that GHQ SWPA plans called for the 
earliest possible seizure of Bataan, to be 
followed by the capture of Corregidor 
and the clearing of the bay's south shore 
to Ternate. 2 It would be up to General 
Krueger to formulate detailed plans for 
the execution of these tasks. Now feel- 
ing that XIV Corps might have its hands 

1 Rad, Krueger to MacArthur, WL-iago, s Feb 45, 
Sixth Army G-g Jnl File Luzon, 31 Jan_a Feb 45. 

s Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CA-50232, 3 Feb 45, 
Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 113. 



310 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



full for some time at Manila and sub- 
sequently against the Shimbu Group in 
the mountains east of the capital, 
Krueger made that corps responsible 
only for clearing the Cavite-Ternate 
shore. To the XI Corps, in better posi- 
tion for the tasks than the XIV, he as- 
signed responsibility for securing Bataan 
and capturing Corregidor. 3 Krueger ex- 
pected XI Corps to be ready to undertake 
the Bataan and Corregidor operations by 
mid-February, 4 but first the corps had to 
complete the missions assigned to it 
when it had landed on Luzon on 29 
January. 

Maj. Gen. Charles P. Hall's XI Corps, 
consisting of the 38th Infantry Division 
and the 24th Division's 34th RCT, had 
once been prepared to land at Vigan, on 
Luzon's northwest coast a hundred miles 
above Lingayen Gulf. 8 GHQ SWPA 
had canceled this operation on 1 1 Janu- 
ary, two days after Sixth Army's assault 
at Lingayen Gulf. At that time, in the 
light of the Japanese air reaction at the 
gulf, planners at GHQ SWPA felt that 
it would be too risky to send an assault 
convoy closer to Formosa, where, Mac- 
Arthur thought, many of the Japanese 
counterattack aircraft were based. Also, 
GHQ SWPA had learned that guerrillas 
already controlled much of the coast in 
the Vigan region; it was not conceivable 
that the Japanese troops stationed there 
posed a threat to Sixth Army's beach- 
head. MacArthur thereupon directed 



XI Corps to land on the Zambales coast 
of Luzon northwest of Bataan. 

The locale selected for the new landing 
was the San Antonio area of Zambales 
Province, lying some forty miles west of 
the southwest corner of the Central 
Plains and twenty-five miles northwest 
of the northwest corner of Bataan. The 
coast is separated from the Central Plains 
by the Cabusilan Mountains, which form 
part of the great Zambales Chain stretch- 
ing northward from the tip of Bataan 
to the Bolinao Peninsula on the west 
side of Lingayen Gulf. Providing the 
only military significant plains area along 
the west coast, the San Antonio region 
was the site of San Marcelino Airstrip, 
about six miles inland via Route 7. 
Route 7, which runs down the west coast 
from the Bolinao Peninsula, leads south 
from San Marcelino over gently rising 
ground thirteen miles to the U.S. Navy 
base at Olongapo, at the head of Subic 
Bay and at the northwest corner of 
Bataan. From Olongapo the highway 
follows a twisting route eastward through 
rough, jungled country across the base of 
Bataan Peninsula fifteen miles to Dina- 
lupihan. The highway runs northeast 
another twenty-five miles from Dinalupi- 
han to the junction with Route 3 at 
San Fernando, which XIV Corps had 
secured on a 8 January. 7 

In 1942 the Japanese might well 
have landed on the Zambales coast and 
cut across Bataan before MacArthur's 



* Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 39, 49; Sixth Army FO's 
47, 48, and 53, dated a, 7, and 19 Feb 45, in ibid,, I, 

•49-5 1 - 155- 

1 Sixth Army FO 48, 7 Feb 45. 

•GHQ SWPA, Staff Study Mike III (Vigan), S3 
Nov 44, OPD File ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43) Sec. 
8-F; GHQ SWPA OI 85, 21 Dec 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl 
File, 23 Dec 44. 



•Rad, Advance GHQ SWPA to GHQ SWPA, n 
Jan 45, and Rad, Advance Hq Seventh Fleet to TF 
77, 1 1 Jan 45, both in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 
13-15 Jan 45. The formal order, GHQ SWPA OI 
87, changing XI Corps' assignment was issued on 14 
January. 



'See above, ch, XII, 



BACK TO BATAAN 



311 



Fil-American forces had completed their 
withdrawal into the peninsula, a con- 
tingency that MacArthur had not then 
overlooked. 8 Recalling in 1945 the op- 
portunity that the Japanese had missed 
three years earlier, MacArthur's decision 
to land XI Corps at San Antonio bid 
fair to lay to rest General Willoughby's 
fears that the Japanese might conduct a 
"historically repetitive delaying action" 
on Bataan. 9 Thus, XI Corps' primary 
mission was to drive rapidly across the 
base of Bataan in order to prevent any 
substantial Japanese withdrawal into the 
peninsula. Second, the corps would 
seize and secure airfield sites in the San 
Antonio-San Marcelino area so that the 
Allied Air Forces could broaden the base 
of its air deployment on Luzon and more 
easily project air power over the South 
China Sea. Finally, XI Corps was to fall 
upon the Kembu Group's right rear if 
that Japanese force was still holding up 
the XIV Corps advance to Manila Bay by 
the time General Hall's troops reached 
the Central Plains from the west coast. 10 
Yamashita had no plans to retire into 
Bataan for the purpose of denying 
Manila Bay to the Allies — or for any 
other purpose. 11 Having decided that 



* See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, pp. 166, 333. 
" G-2 GHQ SWPA DSEI 1017, 8J2IL45. G-3 GHQ 
Jnl File 8 Jan 45. See also above . [ch- II. I 

"GHQ SWPA OI 87, 14 Jan 45, G-3 Jnl File, 14 
Jan 45; Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CAX-50027, 17 
Jan 45, Sivth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 112— 13, See also 



ch. VIII, 



above, 

11 Japanese information in this section is mainly 
from: Statement of Col Sanenobu Nagayoshi (CO 
39th Inf, 10th Div, and Comdr Nagayoshi Detach- 
ment), States, II, 625-26; 14th Area Army Opns on 
Luzon, pp. 27, 43, 58; 14th Area Army Opn Order 
No. A-464, 28 Jan 45, Trans, III, Item 3; 14th Area 
Army Tr Org List. For additional background, see 
above,| ch. V. | 



the defense of Manila Bay was beyond 
the capabilities of his forces, Yamashita 
believed that if he concentrated his 
troops in the cul-de-sac of Bataan they 
would be cut to pieces more rapidly 
(and by lesser Allied ground strength) 
that they would in the three mountain 
strongholds he had established. In 
northern Luzon, where he concentrated 
the bulk of his strength and most of his 
best troops, he would have far greater 
opportunity for maneuver and a con- 
siderably greater chance to provide his 
forces with the food requisite to a pro- 
tracted stand that he would on Bataan. 
He considered he could longer delay the 
reconquest of Luzon and, thereby, Allied 
progress toward Japan, from the Shobu, 
Kembu, and Shimbu positions than he 
could from Bataan. As it was, Japanese 
forces — acting against Yamashita's or- 
ders, it is true — were able to deny Manila 
Bay to the Allies for some two months 
after Sixth Army's landing at Lingayen 
Gulf. 12 It seems self-evident that the 
Luzon Campaign of 1945, taken as a 
whole, would have been over far sooner 
had Yamashita decided to concentrate 
in the blind alley of Bataan. 13 

Allied intelligence agencies estimated 
that the Japanese had nearly 13,000 
troops in the Bataan— Zambales Province 
area, 5,000 of them in the region imme- 
diately north of Bataan and the rest on 



18 Actually, so great were the clearing and repair 
problems that it was well into April before the Allies 
weTe able to make much use of Manila Bay and 
Manila's port facilities. 

18 For an opposite point of view, see Morton, Fall 
of the Philippines, p. 163. Japanese officers who re- 
viewed The Fall of the Philippines in manuscript 
disagreed with Morton and put forth interpretations 
similar to those of the present volume. See Morton, 
op. cit., n. 9, p, 163. 



312 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



the peninsula. 14 GHQ SWPA expected 
that XI Corps would meet the first sig- 
nificant resistance along Route 7 across 
the base of Bataan Peninsula, and further 
believed that operations to clear the 
peninsula would probably follow the 
pattern established by the Japanese in 
1942. 15 

Actually, the Japanese had less than 
4,000 troops in the XI Corps objective 
area. The principal force was the 10th 
Divisions 39th Infantry (less 1st Battal- 
ion) , which Yamashita diverted to 
Bataan late in December when he can- 
celed plans to ship the unit, to Leyte. 10 
The regimental commander, Col. San- 
enobu Nagayoshi, also had under his 
control two provisional infantry com- 
panies, a platoon of light tanks, a rein- 
forced battery of mixed artillery, and 
minor Army and Navy base defense and 
service force detachments. The entire 
force, including the 39th Infantry, was 
designated the Nagayoshi Detachment, 
which was nominally under General 
Tsukada, Kembu Group commander. 
Having once instructed the Nagayoshi 
Detachment to block Route 7 in order 
to protect the Kembu Group right rear, 
Tsukada, when XIV Corps reached the 
Clark Field area, directed Colonel 
Nagayoshi to pull his troops out of the 
Bataan-Zambalcs area into the main 
Kembu positions. Before these orders 
reached the Nagayoshi Detachment, that 
Japanese force was under attack by XI 

11 Information on Allied estimates is from: G-2 
GHQ SWPA, Monthly Summary of Enemy Disposi- 
tions, 31 Dec 44, G-g GHQ Jnl File, 31 Dec 44; G-2 
GHQ SWPA DSEI's, 1-31 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl Files, 
st Jan-i Feb 45; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 115-30; 
Eighth Army Rpt Nasugbu^Bataan, pp. 98^94; 34th 
Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 5. 

" See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, chs. XII- 
XXVI. 

"See above, I ch. V~~| 



Corps, and all opportunity to make an 
orderly withdrawal had vanished. 

The Nagayoshi Detachment's strongest 
concentration— some 2,750 men— was 
dug in athwart Route 7 along the base 
of Bataan Peninsula. Here, Colonel 
Nagayoshi stationed the 3d Battalion, 
39th Infantry, his tanks, most of his ar- 
tillery, and his regimental troops. One 
provisional infantry company garrisoned 
Olongapo; a company of the 2d Battal- 
ion, 39th Infantry, was at San Marcelino 
Airstrip; and the rest of the Nagayoshi 
Detachment — about 1,000 trooops — held 
scattered outposts along the eastern, 
western, and southern shores of Bataan. 

Against Nagayoshi's 4,000, XI Corps 
landed with nearly 40,000 troops, includ- 
ing 5,500 Allied Air Forces personnel 
who were to prepare a fighter base at 
San Marcelino Airstrip. Staged at Leyte 
by Eighth Army, XI Corps sailed to 
Luzon aboard vessels of Task Group 
78.3, Admiral Struble commanding. A 
small force of cruisers, destroyers, and 
escort carriers was available to provide 
gunfire and air support at the beach- 
head. Fifth Air Force planes, responsi- 
ble for protecting the convoy on its way 
from Leyte to Luzon, were to take over 
air support tasks within a day or two 
after XI Corps landed. Once XI Corps 
had secured a beachhead and captured 
San Marcelino Airstrip, it would pass 
from Eighth to Sixth Army control. 17 

Already well along in its preparations 
for the Vigan operation, XI Corps en- 
countered few difficulties in making 
ready for its new assignment other than 



" GHQ SWPA 01 87, 14 Jan 45; Eighth Army FO 
15, Amended, 16 Jan 45, Eighth Army G-3 Jul File 
Mike VII, 12-20 Jan 45; XI Corps FO 3, 19 Jan 45, 
XI Corps FO File; TG 78.3 Opn Plan No. 1-45, 20 
Jan 45, Navy Dept files. 



BACK TO BATAAN 



313 



those involved in collecting and dissemi- 
nating terrain data. Sufficient informa- 
tion was available for tactical plans to 
be drawn up quickly, and only a few 
minor changes had to be made in logis- 
tical plans. Again, planning in the 
Southwest Pacific Area proved remarka- 
bly flexible. Loading and movement to 
the objective area were accomplished 
without untoward incident; at dawn on 
ag January the ships of the assault con- 
voy were in position off San Antonio, 
ready to begin landing operations. 

Sealing Off Bataan: A Study in Command 
Maneuvering Inland 

Preassault bombardment of the XI 
Corps beachhead was scheduled to begin 
at 0730 on the 29th, but Admiral Struble 
canceled it when Filipino guerrillas, 
sailing out in small craft to greet the 
American convoy, reported that there 
were no Japanese in the landing area. 18 
XI Corps then proceeded to land with 
four regiments abreast, the 34th Infan- 
try on the right (south) and each regi- 
ment in column of battalions, across a 
front extending almost six miles north 
along the coast from San Antonio. The 
first wave, reaching shore on schedule at 
0830, was greeted by cheering Filipinos 
who eagerly lent a hand at unloading. 

The 149th Infantry, 38th Division, 
dashed inland to take San Marcelino Air- 



'* This subsection is based generally upon: Eighth 
Army Rpt Nasugbu-Bataan, pp. 77, gg; XI Corps 
Hist Sec, Hist of XI Corps, 15 Jun 42-15 Mar 46, 
p. 34; XI Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-^; ibid, an, 3, 
Supply and Evacuation, p. a; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, 
pp. 11-15, l€6 ; Rpt. Asst ACofS G-3 Eighth Army, 
Obsns M-7 Opn, 30 Jan 45, Eighth Army G~s Jnl 
File Mike VII, 23 Jan-i Feb 45; TG 78.5 Rpt 
Zatnbales, passim; 34th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 5. 



strip, but upon arrival found that guer- 
rillas under Capt. Ramon Magsaysay, 
later President of the Republic of the 
Philippines, had secured the field three 
days earlier. The 24th Reconnaissance 
Troop, attached to the 34th RCT, sped 
on south along Route 7 to the north 
shore of Subic Bay before dark. No- 
where did XI Corps troops encounter 
any opposition during the day, and the 
only casualty of the assault seems to have 
been an enlisted man of Company F, 
151st Infantry, 38th Division, who was 
gored by one of the notoriously ill- 
tempered Filipino carabao. 19 Tactical 
surprise had been complete. Colonel 
Nagayoshi did not even learn of the 
landing until the next day, and then he 
thought that XI Corps had come ashore 
at Subic Bay. 20 

General Hall assumed command 
ashore about 0800 on 30 January, and 
simultaneously Eighth Army passed con- 
trol of XI Corps to Sixth Army. A few 
hours later the reinforced 2d Battalion, 
151st Infantry, seized Grande Island, 
lying across the entrance to Subic Bay, 
against no opposition, and after a sharp 
skirmish at the outskirts of Olongapo 
the 34th Infantry took the town. 

With these two actions XI Corps* had 
completed its initial tasks. Subic Bay 
was secure for base development; the San 
Marcelino Airstrip had been taken, and 
work on the fighter field had already 
started. The entire XI Corps was ashore, 
and the only significant difficulty yet 
encountered had resulted from poor 
beach conditions, which had delayed dis- 



"151st Inf Rpt Luzon, Account for 29 Jan 45. The 
151st Infantry's report is divided into day-by-day 
narratives. 

"Nagayoshi Statement, States, II, 626. 



314 TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




XI Corps Landing Arf.a on Western Coast of Luzon, ^ambales Mountains 
in background. 



charge of heavy equipment. All in all, 
the operation had gone unexpectedly 
well so far, and XI Corps was ready to 
begin its next job — the drive across the 
base of Bataan Peninsula to cut Japanese 
routes of access and establish contact 
with XIV Corps. 

General Hall's plan called for the 38th 
Division, less the 151st RCT in XI 
Corps Reserve, to pass through the 34th 
Infantry at Olongapo and drive rapidly 
eastward. He directed Maj. Gen. Henry 
L. C. Jones, the commander of the 38th 
Division, to advance along Route 7 and 
"routes north thereof," the advance to 
be so conducted that the two columns, 
moving along separate axes, could be 
mutually supporting. 21 General Jones, 
in turn, decided to push the 153d Infan- 



21 Msg, XI Corps to 38th Div, 2020 30 Jan 45, Entry 
82, 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 30 Jan 45. (There are two sets 
of folders containing 38th Division G— 3 Journal and 
Journal File materials for Luzon, one labeled "G-3 
Journal 38th Infantry Division" and the other "G-3 
Journal, 38th Division." The first set of folders is 
cited as 38th Inf Div G-3 Jnl File; the second set as 
38th Div G-3 Jnl.) 



try east along Route 7 while the 149th 
Infantry, less 1st Battalion in division 
reserve, was to strike eastward via a 
rough trail that XI Corps headquarters 
believed paralleled Route 7 on rising 
ground about 1,200 yards north of the 
highway. General Hall apparently ex- 
pected that the 149th Infantry, bypassing 
whatever opposition might be found 
along Route 7, would reach Dinalupihan 
quickly. Then the regiment could, if 
necessary, turn back west along the high- 
way to help the 15:3d Infantry reduce 
any Japanese defenses that might still 
be holding out. While he set no time 
limit for the operation, subsequent 
events indicate that General Hall felt 
that the two regiments of the 38th Divi- 
sion could clear Route 7 through to 
Dinalupihan by evening on 5 February. 22 
Neither the XI Corps nor the 38th 
Division as yet had much detailed infor- 



S! XI Corps Rpt Luzon, p. 5; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, 
p. 15; 38th Div FO 10, 31 Jan 45, 38th Div G-3 Jnl 
File, 19 Jan- 10 Feb 45; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56. 



BACK TO BATAAN 



315 



mation about Japanese strength and de- 
ployment along Route y. 23 Lt. Col. 
Gyles Merrill, commanding guerrillas in 
Zambales and Bataan Provinces, esti- 
mated that 2,000 to 5,000 Japanese, 
armed with machine guns, artillery, 
tanks, antitank guns, and mortars, were 
well dug in along Route 7, but XI Corps 
seems to have taken this estimate with a 
grain of salt. 24 As a matter of fact, the 
153d Infantry began its drive across 
Bataan with an estimate that it might 
meet as few as 900 Japanese on Route 7 
instead of the 2,750 or more that Colonel 
Nagayoshi actually had stationed there. 25 
As had been the case for XIV Corps 
troops in Manila, the XI Corps' advanc- 
ing infantry would not discover the main 
body of the Japanese on Route 7 until 
actually in contact at the principal de- 
fenses, for Colonel Nagayoshi had estab- 
lished only one relatively weak outpost 
position between Olongapo and his 
strongest concentrations. He deployed 
his main strength in a series of mutually 
supporting strongpoints along and on 
both sides of Route 7 in an area that 
began approximately three miles north- 
east of Olongapo and extended eastward 
another three miles through rough ter- 
rain known as ZigZag Pass. The Japanese 
defenses ran from northwest to southeast 
across Route 7, which meant that the 
left of the 1520! Infantry would come 
into contact with the Japanese right 



M Information on Japanese defenses is based mainly 
on: 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 13, 16-18, 116-18, and 
maps between pp. 15 and 16; XI Corps Rpts Luzon, 
an. a, G-a Rpt, p. 33. 

"XI Corps G— 2 Rpts % and 3, 30 and 31 Jan 45. 
Merrill, formerly with the 26th Cavalry, Philippine 
Scouts, was a supply officer under Wainwright during 
the 1941—43 campaign, 

™ i$sd Inf FO 3, 31 Jan 45. 



before the i52d's right even approached 
the Japanese left. 

Nagayoshi had chosen his ground well. 
While more rugged terrain than the Zig- 
Zag Pass area is to be found on Luzon, 
few pieces of ground combine to the 
same degree both roughness and dense 
jungle. Route 7 twists violently through 
the pass, following a line of least terrain 
resistance that wild pigs must originally 
have established. The jungle flora in the 
region is so thick that one can step five 
yards off the highway and not be able to 
see the road. The Japanese had honey- 
combed every hill and knoll at the Zig- 
Zag with foxholes linked by tunnels or 
trenches; at particularly advantageous 
points they had constructed strongpoints 
centered on log and dirt pillboxes. All 
the defenses were well camouflaged, for 
rich, jungle foliage covered most posi- 
tions, indicating that many had been 
prepared with great care and had been 
constructed well before Nagayoshi's 39th 
Infantry had reached the area in Decem- 
ber. 28 Few if any of the installations 
dated back to 1942, when elements of 
MacArthur's command that were de- 
ployed in the ZigZag Pass area had with- 
drawn into Bataan before constructing 
many defenses and had left the Japanese 
to occupy the pass against no opposition. 27 

Colonel Nagayoshi had plenty of food 
and ammunition for a prolonged stand, 



** If no work had been undertaken earlier, which 
seems impossible, it certainly started immediately 
upon the arrival of the jpth Infantry. See Diary, 2d 
Lt. Saburo Kitano, 6th Company, ad Provisional 
Infantry Battalion, XI Corps G-2 Periodic Report 
No. 13, 10 February 1945. There are some indications 
that many of the defenses at the ZigZag had origi- 
nally been constructed by Japanese naval troops who, 
previously stationed at Olongapo, had moved to the 
main Kembu defenses in January. 

" Morton, Fall of the Philippines, pp. 166, 346, 379. 



316 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




Visibility Zero, Zigzag Pass 



and he also possessed numerous mortars 
and machine guns. His artillery, how- 
ever, was inadequate for the task at hand 
and he lacked certain types of medical 
supplies, especially malaria preventatives 
and cures. Having left only one minor 
outpost along Route 7 between Olongapo 
and the ZigZag, he made no attempt to 
cover that open, three-mile stretch of 
road with fire. He had so scattered his 
mortars and artillery in order to protect 
them against American artillery and air 
strikes that his troops would often have 
difficulty massing their fires. Finally, his 
defensive line was scarcely 2,000 yards 



wide northwest to southeast, thus render- 
ing his whole position susceptible to 
vigorous outflanking maneuvers. On 
the other hand, he had good troops, 
well-prepared positions, and excellent 
defensive terrain. 

Into Contact 

On the morning of 31 January the 
153d Infantry, leaving one battalion to 
reduce the Japanese outpost a mile and 
a half northeast of Olongapo, marched 
on another mile and a half to the point 
where Route 7 began climbing jungled 



BACK TO BATAAN 



317 



hills into the ZigZag. 28 Opposition so 
far had been limited to scattered rifle 
fire and a few bursts of long-range ma- 
chine gun fire, but as attacks against the 
first Japanese strongpoints began the 
next morning, 1 February, the i52d 
Infantry ran into increasingly determined 
resistance. 29 On 1 February the problem 
of the actual location of the various 
American units arose to plague the 15 2d 
Infantry, the 38th Division, and the XI 
Corps. Route 7 twisted so violently and 
the terrain through which it passed was 
so densely jungled that the i52d had 
considerable trouble orienting itself on 
the map, which was none too accurate 
to begin with. Secondly, the 38th Divi- 
sion was employing a map code that 
soon proved highly susceptible to gar- 
blings and misunderstandings as one 
echelon reported its supposed locations 
to another. 30 Finally, the i52d Infantry 
often had trouble getting its radios to 
work properly in the thick vegetation 
of the ZigZag area. 

The i,52d Infantry, during the morn- 
ing of 1 February, approached the west- 

™ The general sources for the story of the reduc- 
tion of the ZigZag are; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 16— 
29; 38th Div G-3 Per Rpts, 1-5 Feb 45; 38th Div G-3 
Jnl Files, 19 Jan_a8 Feb 45; Ltrs, Hall to Krueger, 3, 
4, 5, and 6 Feb 45, Decker Papers, folder 4; Intervs, 
Falk with Lt Col David J. Wilson (S-g 153d Inf), 14 
and 22 Aug 52, and Interv, Falk with Brig Gen 
John A. Elmore (CofS XI Corps), g Apr 52, copies of 
interv notes in OCMH files; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 
56 and 26 Jan 57. 

** Additional material on 153d Infantry operations 
is from: i52d Inf Rpt Luzon, 29 Jan— 2 Mar 45, pp. 
2-6; i52d Inf Unit Jnl, 1-15 Feb 45; 2d Bn i52d Inf 
Rpt Luzon, pp. 1-2; 2d Bn ig2d Inf Unit Jnl, 1-15 
Feb 45; Maj Noble F. Schlatter (S-a 153d Inf), Rpt 
for i52d Inf, 1730 1 Feb-0800 2 Feb 45, 38th Inf Div 
G— 3 Jnl File, 19 Jan-10 Feb 45; Ltr, Hall to Jones, 
4 Feb 45; sub: Opns of 38th Div . . . , gi Jan 5 to 
2 Feb, enclosed in Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 6 Feb 45. 

™ The basic trick of the map code was to measure 
co-ordinates on the 1:50,000 map the troops were 
using by means of the yard scale from a 1:20,000 map. 




MAP 8 

ern entrance to an irregularly shaped 
horseshoe curve on Route 7. (Map 8) 
The horseshoe curve rounded, and partly 
crossed, the nose of a northwest-southeast 
ridge. Open on the north, the horseshoe 
measured some 200 yards west to east 
across its northern points; the western 
leg was about 250 yards long, north to 
south; the eastern leg 325 yards long; 
and the southern leg, almost 275 yards 
across, west to east. In the center, at its 
broadest, the horseshoe measured nearly 
300 yards. At 38th Division headquar- 
ters on 1 February it was the consensus 
that the 153d Infantry's leading battal- 
ion had fought its way around the horse- 
shoe and by dusk was anywhere from 150 
to 300 yards east along Route 7 beyond 
the horseshoe's northeastern corner. Ac- 
cording to the regimental operations 
officer, the leading battalion did not even 
reach the horseshoe on 1 February. 
Rather, the battalion, which faced strong 
opposition all day, made only 500 yards 
in an easterly direction and dug in for 



318 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




MAP 9 



the night of 1-2 February at a point al- 
most goo yards west of the horseshoe's 
northwestern corner. 81 A study of all 
available regimental and battalion rec- 
ords indicates that on 1 February at least 
one company of the i52d's leading bat- 
talion reached the southeastern corner 
of the horseshoe but withdrew before 
dark to rejoin the rest of the battalion 
west of the horseshoe. 82 

Whatever its location, the i52d Infan- 
try had begun to light its way into a 
veritable hornet's nest of Japanese. The 

"Interv, Falk with Wilson, as Aug 53. Wilson 
stated that he was often surprised to find where 58th 
Division G-2 and G-3 reports placed the regiment 
and stated that division locations were often at 
variance with locations he had sent to division 
headquarters. The present author found many amaz- 
ing disagreements, especially during the first week, of 
the action, among locations recorded in regimental 
division G-a, division G-3, and division artillery 
reports. XI Corps reports sometimes disagreed with 
all fourl 

81 General Jones believed that the entire battalion 
had reached "a point a little beyond the horseshoe." 
Jones Comments, ao Dec 56. 



leading battalion, the 1st, had rough 
going all day, and had had to spend most 
of its time trying to find and isolate 
Japanese positions. During the follow- 
ing night, the Japanese launched a num- 
ber of small-scale counterattacks against 
the battalion and harassed it with mortar 
and artillery fire, which inflicted some 
casualties not only on the 1st Battalion 
but also on the 2d and 3d, now about 
1,500 yards to the west along Route 7. 
By dawn on 2 February the regiment's 
casualties since it had begun moving 
through the 34th Infantry about noon 
on 31 January totaled 17 men killed, 48 
wounded, and 2 missing. 

Plans for 2 February called for the 153d 
to sweep rising ground along both sides 
of Route 7, simultaneously smashing 
through the ZigZag along the highway. 
That day the 3d Battalion discovered 
strong Japanese defenses along a north- 
west-southeast ridge north of the horse- 
shoe. (Map p) Unable to locate the north 
flank of these Japanese positions, the bat- 
talion hit the defenses in the center but 
gained nothing. Japanese pressure forced 
the unit generally southeast along the 
western slope of the ridge, and the bat- 
talion sideslipped back to Route 7 near 
the northwestern corner of the horse- 
shoe. The 2d Battalion, operating south 
of the highway, more than kept abreast 
of the 3d but, because of the southeast- 
ward slant of the Japanese line, located 
no strong defenses. Since there seemed 
to be little point in holding ground no 
Japanese occupied, and since the 3d 
Battalion had made no progress against 
the Japanese right north of Route 7, the 
2d Battalion pulled back to the highway. 
In the center, meanwhile, the 1st Bat- 
talion had gained no new ground along 
Route 7 through the horseshoe. 



BACK TO BATAAN 



319 



The i52d's positions at dark on 2 Feb- 
ruary were again a matter of some dis- 
pute. General Jones now believed that 
the ad and 3d Battalions were on the 
horseshoe's eastern leg near the north- 
eastern corner, 33 and that the 1st Bat- 
talion was well into the horseshoe. Other 
reports indicate, however, that the entire 
regiment reassembled for the night west 
of the horseshoe. From subsequent de- 
velopments, it appears that elements of 
the i52d had reached the northeastern 
corner of the horseshoe on 2 February 
but that the 2d and 3d Battalions actu- 
ally held for the night along the western 
leg while the 1st Battalion occupied its 
previous night's bivouac to the west. 

Casualties on 2 February numbered 5 
men killed, 26 wounded, and 1 missing, 
for a total since noon on 31 January of 
22 killed, 74 wounded, and 3 missing. 
It is perhaps indicative of the nature of 
the terrain in which the i52d Infantry 
was fighting that the regiment claimed 
to have killed only 12 Japanese from 
noon on 31 January to dark on 2 
February. 

The attack of 2 February had devel- 
oped somewhat slowly, primarily be- 
cause the 1st and 3d Battalions had been 
shaken up by the Japanese counterat- 
tacks and artillery and mortar fire of the 
previous night and, having lost some key 
company officers and NCO's, faced seri- 
ous reorganization problems. At any 
rate, when General Hall came up to the 
front about noon, he found the i52d 
Infantry barely under way. Dissatisfied 
with the progress, Hall informed Gen- 
eral Jones that the exhibition of Jones's 

** Note that General Jones no longer believed the 
153d was beyond the horseshoe. Either he was in 
error the previous night or the 153d had lost ground 
on 2 February. 



division was the worst he had ever seen 34 
— a rather severe indictment of an entire 
division, only one regiment of which, 
the i52d Infantry, had yet seen any real 
action on Luzon. The i52d was a green 
unit that had been in combat scarcely 
forty-eight hours by noon on 2 February. 
General Jones, in turn, was none too 
happy about the conduct of the i52d and 
had been especially displeased by the 
performance of the 3d Battalion. Late 
that day he relieved the regimental com- 
mander, Col. Robert L. Stillwell. Lt. 
Col. Jesse E. Mcintosh, the regimental 
executive officer, thereupon took over 
the command. Not satisfied that this 
change would produce the results he 
desired, General Hall directed the 34th 
Infantry to pass through the i52d and 
continue the attack eastward. The 34th 
would operate under the direct control 
of Headquarters, XI Corps; the i52d 
Infantry, remaining under Jones's com- 
mand, would follow the 34th through 
the ZigZag to mop up bypassed pockets 
of Japanese resistance. 35 Dividing the 
command at the point of contact, Gen- 
eral Hall in effect left General Jones in 
command of only one regiment, the 
i52d Infantry. The 151st Infantry was 
still in XI Corps reserve and the 149th, 
while ostensibly under Jones's control, 
was still off on the bypassing mission to 
Dinalupihan that had been undertaken 
at corps direction. 

The relief of the i52d Infantry and 
its commander, and the insertion of the 
34th Infantry at the horseshoe under 
corps control, reflected primarily a com- 

"Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 3 Feb 45. 

"Ibid.; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 18; Lt Col Alex- 
ander G. Kirby (G-g 38th Div), Notes of Conf with 
Col Colin S. Monteith (G-3 XI Corps) , 2000 2 Feb 45, 
38th Div G-3 Jnl File, 19 Jan-10 Feb 45; Jones 
Comments, 20 Dec 56. 



320 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 




K Temple 



MAP 10 



bination o£ Hall's expectation of a rapid 
drive across Bataan and a misapprehen- 
sion on his part concerning the strength 
and location of the Japanese defenses 
along Route 7. Hall believed that the 
153d Infantry had at most encountered 
only an outpost line of resistance, that 
the principal Japanese defenses lay a 
mile or so east of the horseshoe, and 
that the i52d Infantry had found "noth- 
ing that an outfit ready to go forward 
could not overcome quickly." 86 The 
38th Division and the i52d Infantry, on 
the other hand, were convinced that the 
i52d was up against something "big" 
and had reached the Japanese main line 
of resistance. As events were to prove, 
the 38th Division and the 153d Infantry 
were more nearly correct as of evening 
on 2 February than was XI Corps. 

Frustration at the Horseshoe 

The 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, 
encountered some harassing fire from 



Japanese mortars and artillery on the 
morning of 3 February as it passed 
through the i52d Infantry and moved 
deep into the horseshoe. 37 (Map 10) 
While one company struck north and 
northeast from the horseshoe's north- 
western corner, the rest of the battalion 
followed Route 7 around to the eastern 
leg, retracing the i52d Infantry's path. 
The 34th's company on the north, hit- 
ting some of the same ridge line defenses 
that the 3d Battalion, 152CI Infantry, had 
previously encountered, slid back south- 
east just as had the i52d's battalion, and 
dug in for the night not far east of the 
horseshoe's northwestern corner. The 
main body of the 1st Battalion, 34th 
Infantry, was unable to move more than 
halfway north along the eastern leg be- 
fore Japanese fire from high, dominating 
terrain 200 yards east of that arm halted 
it. Seeking to outflank this opposition, 
Company A struck off to the southeast 
from the horseshoe's southeastern corner. 
The company reached a point on the 
northern slopes of Familiar Peak about 
700 yards southeast of its line of depar- 
ture, but was then pinned down and 
surrounded. Meanwhile the 2d and 3d 
Battalions, i52d Infantry, patrolling be- 
hind the 34th Infantry's battalion, had 
knocked out a few isolated Japanese 
strongpoints and dug in for the night 
both north and east along Route 7 from 
the horseshoe's southwestern corner. The 
1st Battalion, 153d, remained west of 
the horseshoe. 

If one thing was obvious by dusk on 
3 February it was that the 34th Infantry 

38 Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 3 Feb 45. 

" Additional material on the 34th Infantry is from: 
34th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 53-99; 54th RCT Unit Rpts, 
3-6 Feb 45, and other materials in 34th RCT Jnl 
File Luzon, 4-7 Feb 45; 34th Inf Unit Jnl Luzon, 3- 
6 Feb 45. 



BACK TO BATAAN 



321 



had employed insufficient strength for 
the task at hand — it had committed only 
one battalion to do a job that three 
battalions of the 153d had been unable 
to accomplish. Accordingly, Col. Wil- 
liam W. Jenna, commanding the 34th, 
decided to employ his entire regiment 
in a three-pronged attack. His 1st Bat- 
talion would concentrate against the 
Japanese on the dominating ground east 
of the horseshoe's eastern leg; the 2d 
Battalion would clear the Japanese from 
the northeastern corner area, undertak- 
ing flanking maneuvers north of Route 
7; and the 3d Battalion would clear the 
highway to and beyond the northeast- 
ern corner, initially following the 2d 
Battalion. 

On 4 February the 34th's attack went 
well at first, but in the face of continued 
strong opposition, including heavy mor- 
tar and artillery fire, the regiment before 
dusk had to give up much of the ground 
it gained during the day. The 1st Bat- 
talion dug in for the night farther south 
along the horseshoe's eastern leg than 
it had the previous night, although it 
retained a hold on some terrain east of 
that leg. The 2d Battalion had knocked 
out some strongpoints along the south- 
ern end of the Japanese right flank de- 
fenses in the area north of Route 7, but 
Japanese fire drove most of the unit back 
to the road late in the afternoon. (Map 
11) The 3d Battalion, because the 2d 
had made no permanent progress, had 
not gone into action. 

General Jones had meanwhile directed 
the i52d Infantry to renew its attacks 
against the Japanese right, north of 
Route 7. The 1st Battalion, i52d, in 
a wide envelopment from the west, at 
first had considerable success, but late 
in the afternoon, just when it seemed 




that the battalion was about to overrun 
the strongest positions along the ridge 
line, a vicious Japanese mortar and artil- 
lery barrage drove the unit back south 
to Route 7. This was the fourth time 
in three days that the Japanese had 
thwarted American attempts to clear the 
ridge north of the horseshoe. 

The fighting at the horseshoe on 3 
and 4 February cost the 34th Infantry 
41 men killed, 131 wounded, and 6 miss- 
ing while on the same days the i52d 
Infantry lost 4 men killed, 48 wounded, 
and 1 missing. The 34th Infantry had 
extended the front a little to the north 
of the horseshoe and a bit east of the 
eastern leg, but neither the 34th Infantry 
nor the 15 2d Infantry had made any 
substantial gains beyond the point the 
i52d had reached on 2 February. The 
Japanese still held strong positions north 
of the horseshoe and they still controlled 
the northeastern corner and about half 
the eastern leg. The 34th Infantry's 
greatest contribution during the two 



322 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



days, perhaps, was to have helped con- 
vince General Hall that the Japanese 
had strong defenses throughout the Zig- 
Zag area and that the regiment had in- 
deed reached a Japanese main line of 
resistance. It had not been until evening 
on 3 February that the XI Corps' G-2 
Section had been willing to concede that 
the Japanese might have strong defenses 
at the ZigZag, and it was not until the 
next evening that General Hall was con- 
vinced that the 34th and i52d Infantry 
Regiments had encountered a well- 
defended Japanese line. 38 

Apparently, Hall's conviction that his 
troops had come up against a Japanese 
main line of resistance led to a second 
conviction that the fight at the horseshoe 
would henceforth go better if he unified 
the command there. At any rate, late 
on the 4th, Hall attached the 34th Infan- 
try to the 38th Division and directed 
Jones to attack eastward early on 5 Feb- 
ruary with all the strength he could 
bring to bear. Speed, General Hall went 
on, was essential. 39 

General Jones planned to reduce the 
Japanese strongpoints methodically with 
a series of simultaneous, co-ordinated, 
battalion-sized attacks. He expected the 
i$2d Infantry to do most of the work 
initially, while the 34th Infantry com- 
pletely cleared the horseshoe area and 
then drove eastward on the south side 
of Route 7. Foreseeing difficulties in 
arranging artillery support, Jones lim- 



ffl G-a XI Corps, Photo Interpretation 8, 3 Feb 
45; Ltrs, Hall to Krueger, 4 and 5 Feb 45. 

* Rad, XI Corps to 38th Div, 2040 4 Feb 45, Entry 
50, in 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 4 Feb 45; Ltr, Hall to 
Krueger, 4 Feb 45. General Jones felt that the trans- 
fer of the 34th Infantry to his control was an attempt 
by General Hall "to push the blame on me for the 
failure of the 34th Infantry." Jones Comments, ao 
Dec 56. 



ited general artillery support fires to tar- 
gets east of the Santa Rita River, which 
crossed Route 7 a mile east of the horse- 
shoe, and required that requests for 
closer support be cleared through regi- 
mental headquarters. 40 Individual in- 
fantry battalions under this arrangement 
would be able to get close support only 
after some delay. The plan also split 
the i52d Infantry, placing two of its 
battalions north of the 34th and the 
third south. Colonel Jenna, command- 
ing the 34th Infantry, objected, suggest- 
ing that control and co-ordination would 
be easier if the 34th Infantry concen- 
trated its efforts south of Route 7 while 
all the 153d remained north of the road. 
Jones did not agree, and directed Jenna 
to execute his attacks as scheduled. 41 

General Jones realized that his plan 
left something to be desired and that 
he was calling for a comparatively slow 
course of action. Actually, he would 
have liked to undertake an even slower 
course by pulling the 34th Infantry back, 
adjusting all his artillery and mortars 
carefully, and then staging a co-ordi- 
nated, two-regiment attack behind heavy 
artillery and mortar concentrations. This 
would have taken about two days, and 
he knew that General Hall would brook 
no such delay. He therefore felt that 
his plan, which called for extensive out- 



*> This crossing of the Santa Rita is in accordance 
with the AMS S712, 1:50,000 map of 1944 the troops 
were using at the time. According to the AMS S711 
r.50,000 map of 195a, Edition 2, the proper name for 
the stream is the Jadjad River. 

41 Proposed Plan CG 38 th Div, 4 Feb 45, and 38th 
Div FO 11, 5 Feb 45, both in 38th Inf Div G-3 Jnl 
File, 19 Jan— 10 Feb 45; Rad, Jenna to Bns of 34th 
Inf, 0730 5 Feb 45, Entry 592, 34th RCT Jnl File 4-6 
Feb 45; Rad, Jones to Jenna, 0955 5 Feb 45, Entry 658, 
34th RCT Jnl File 4-6 Feb 45; lijad Inf FO 4, 5 Feb 
45, atchd to i52d Inf Rpt Luzon, 29 Jan-2 Mar 45; 
Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56. 



BACK TO BATAAN 



323 



flanking maneuvers north of Route 7 
by the 152c! Infantry, was the only one 
that promised success under the circum- 
stances, and he indicated to General 
Hall that if the plan did not work out 
he would change it. Jones premised his 
plan on the belief that the 34th Infantry 
would be able to carry its share of the 
load in the new attack, but it appears 
that he did not have a clear idea of the 
regiment's situation and condition, prob- 
ably because the regiment had been op 
era ting under corps control for two 
days. 42 

Although operations on 5 February 
started out in a promising manner, the 
situation in the horseshoe area soon 
turned into a shambles. The 2d Battal- 
ion, 34th Infantry, which had been har- 
assed by Japanese mortar fire throughout 
the night of 4-5 February, started off on 
the 5th trying to reduce a Japanese 
strongpoint near the northeastern corner 
of the horseshoe. Maneuvering to out- 
flank the strongpoint, the battalion 
moved well north of Route 7, upsetting 
plans for close artillery support of the 
i5zd Infantry's battalions. (Map 12) 
About the time that the 2d Battalion, 
34th Infantry, felt it was making good 
progress, Japanese artillery fire pinned 
it down. Around 1130, having received 
a number of casualties, the battalion re- 
quested permission to withdraw. Jenna 
assenting, the battalion began moving 
back to the west side of the horseshoe. 
About the same time, increasingly con- 
cerned over the casualties his regiment 
was taking from Japanese mortar and 
artillery fire, Jenna radioed Jones: 

I am convinced that the entire Japanese 
position opposing XI Corps cannot be 

a Proposed Plan CG 38th Div, 4 Peb 45; Jones 
Comments, so Dec 56 and 26 Jan 57. 




ft Temple 

MAP 12 



cracked unless there is a withdrawal to a 
point where entire Corps Artillery and all 
available air work it over with every possi- 
ble means for at least 48 hours. My 1st and 
2nd [Battalions] have suffered terrific casu- 
alties and it is becoming questionable how 
long they can hold up under this pounding. 

Jenna's thinking was obviously in line 
with that of General Jones, but the 38th 
Division commander, mindful of Hall's 
insistence upon speed, did not act upon 
Jenna's recommendation and sent no 
immediate reply to the regimental 
commander. 

Shortly after 1200, when his 1st Bat- 
talion, on the horseshoe's eastern leg, 
began reporting heavy casualties from 
Japanese artillery, Colonel Jenna de- 
cided to withdraw that unit west of the 
horseshoe. His reserve battalion, the 3d, 
had moved up to the northwestern 
corner of the horseshoe and had started 



"Rad, Jenna to Jones, 1136 5 Feb 45, Entry 6so, 
34th RCT Jnl File, 4-6 Feb 45. 



324 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



to probe across its open end, over the 
ridge line, in preparation for its share 
in the attack. When the ist and 2d Bat- 
talions began withdrawing, the 3d had 
to hold to cover. The 1 st Battalion, dur- 
ing its withdrawal in the afternoon, was 
harassed by Japanese artillery and mor- 
tar fire, which also hit forward elements 
of the 3d. By 1740 on the 5th the entire 
34th Infantry was again west of the 
horseshoe — the regiment was, indeed, 
behind its line of departure of the 
morning of 3 February. 

Having received information that the 
i52d Infantry's attacks were going well, 
Jenna apparently felt that his with- 
drawal could not redound to the advan- 
tage of the Japanese. He was, however, 
primarily concerned with the welfare of 
his regiment, which had lost another 
20 men killed and 60 wounded during 
the previous twenty-four hours. The 
34th Infantry had suffered a total of 325 
battle casualties and 25 psychoneurosis 
cases since coming ashore on 29 January, 
almost all of them during the period 
3-5 February. In its three days at the 
ZigZag the regiment had lost nearly half 
as many men as it had during 78 days 
of combat on Leyte. 44 Many of the casu- 
alties at the ZigZag had been among 
key personnel and included the regi- 
mental executive officer, 1 battalion com- 
mander, 4 company commanders, and 
3 first sergeants. The 34th was no longer 
an effective combat unit, and about 
1900 on 5 February General Hall di- 
rected General Jones to replace it with 
the 38th Division's 151st Infantry, which 
so far had seen practically no fighting. 46 



"Jenna Comments, 5 Jan 57. 
"Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 5 Feb 45; Rad, Hall to 
Jones, 1910 5 Feb 45, 38th Div G-j Jnl, 5 Feb 45. 



The i52d Infantry's operations on 5 
February met with limited success. The 
2d Battalion relieved Company A, 34th 
Infantry, at the latter's isolated perimeter 
some 700 yards off the horseshoes's south- 
eastern corner with little difficulty, the 
Japanese who had surrounded the com- 
pany having disappeared during the 
night. The 2d Battalion remained in 
the area for the rest of the day and that 
night, finding only abandoned Japanese 
positions. North of the horseshoe the 
1st Battalion, 15 2d Infantry, resumed its 
attacks against the Japanese ridge line 
defenses, again moving in from the west. 
The battalion made good gains during 
the morning and cleared much of the 
northern and central portions of the 
ridge. The attack slowed during the 
afternoon, however, as Japanese opposi- 
tion stiffened. 46 By now the battalion 
was nearing the southern end of the 
Japanese-held ridge and was located 
about 600 yards north-northwest of the 
horseshoe's northwestern corner. The 
unit began setting up night defenses in 
apparently abandoned Japanese posi- 
tions when suddenly, from a maze of 
previously undiscovered foxholes, tun- 
nels, and trenches within and without 
the perimeter Japanese riflemen and 
machine gunners started pouring out 
point-blank fire. The 1st Battalion could 
not employ artillery or mortar support 
to disperse the Japanese and the battal 
ion's men found it virtually impossible 
to return the Japanese rifle fire without 
hitting each other. The best thing to 



M General Jones believed the stiffening opposition 
marked redeployment of Japanese after the with- 
drawal of the 34th Infantry. Jones Comments, so 
Dec 56. The author has been unable to find any 
evidence of such redeployments in either Japanese 
or American records. 



BACK TO BATAAN 



325 



do seemed to be to escape from the Japa- 
nese ambush and the battalion started 
withdrawing, apparently in a rather dis- 
organized fashion. About dark the first 
troops began reaching the perimeter of 
the 3d Battalion of the 34th Infantry, 
which was in reserve near the north- 
western corner of the horseshoe, but it 
was noon the next day before all the 
1st Battalion, i$2d, had completely reas- 
sembled and reorganized. The battal- 
ion's losses for 5 February numbered 9 
men killed and 33 wounded, including 
many key NCO's and company-grade 
officers. For example, Company C had 
no officers left and Company B had 
only one. 

Thus, by evening on 5 February, the 
attack at the ZigZag had ended in fail- 
ure. Except for the terrain held by the 
2d Battalion, 153d Infantry, southeast 
of the horseshoe, the 153d and 34th In- 
fantry Regiments were no farther for- 
ward than the i52d had been on the 
evening of 2 February. The fighting at 
the ZigZag had cost the 34th Infantry 
roughly 70 men killed and 200 wounded, 
and many of the men left in its three 
infantry battalions could not be counted 
as combat effectives. The 153d Infantry, 
with casualties of about 40 men killed 
and 155 wounded, was actually little 
better off, for it had lost an even greater 
proportion of junior officers and senior 
NCO's. The 1st Battalion, for instance, 
had only 15 officers and 660 enlisted 
combat effectives, and the entire regi- 
ment faced serious reorganization prob- 
lems. Yet 5 February had not been 
entirely void of good news. The 38th 
Division's 149th Infantry, which had 
taken the "high road" eastward, had 
reached Dinalupihan and had made 
contact with XIV Corps troops there. 



149th Infantry Mix-up 

At dusk on 31 January the 149th 
Infantry had assembled at a branching 
of the Santa Rita River three and a half 
miles northeast of Olongapo and about 
a mile and a quarter northwest of the 
i52d Infantry's forward elements on 
Route 7 half a mile west of the horse- 
shoe. 47 On 1 February Col. Winfred G. 
Skelton, the regimental commander, in- 
tended to march eastward along the trail 
XI Corps had designated as far as a 
north-south line through Bulate, a tiny 
barrio on Route 7 at the eastern exit 
of the ZigZag and some four miles east 
of the horseshoe. Once on this line, the 
regiment would halt pending new orders. 

The march started on 1 February with 
guerrillas and local Negritos guiding. 
About 1300 Skelton reported to General 
Jones that the 149th would reach its 
objective line within three hours, and 
also that he was on the XI Corps' trail 
at a point nearly two miles east of the 
horseshoe and roughly 1,200 yards north 
of Route 7. Jones, mindful of XI Corps' 
admonition to keep the 149th and i52d 
Infantry Regiments within supporting 
distance of each other, now felt that the 
149th was getting too far east of the i52d, 
and directed Colonel Skelton to halt 
approximately 2,500 yards west of the 
original objective line. Well before dark, 
Skelton reported that his leading battal- 
ion was at General Jones's new objective 
and was digging in along the XI Corps' 
trail at a point about 750 yards north of 



41 Additional information on 149th Infantry opera- 
tions in this and the next two subsections is from: 
149th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 5-20; 149th In£ Unit Jnl, 
1-15 Feb 45; 149th Inf, Summary of Lessons Learned 
M-7 Opn, pp. 2-5. 



326 



TRIUMPH IN THE PHILIPPINES 



Route 7 at barrio Balsic, a mile west 
of Bulate. 

At this juncture General Jones began 
receiving reports from 38th Division 
Artillery liaison planes that the 149th 
Infantry was no place near the locations 
Colonel Skelton had reported for it. 
Jones believed that the i4<)th's leading 
elements were about three miles north- 
west of their reported location. 48 Colonel 
Skelton, on the other hand, insisted that 
his troops were in the position he had 
reported, while an XI Corps Artillery 
liaison plane placed the regiment a mile 
and a third northwest of Skelton's claim 
and over a mile and a half southeast of 
the area in which Jones believed the 
regiment was located. General Hall evi- 
dently chose to believe the report of the 
XI Corps Artillery aircraft. 

In the end, it appears, nobody was 
right. First, the trail that the XI Corps 
thought paralleled Route 7 simply did 
not exist. Instead, almost two miles east 
the Santa Rita River branching the trail 
swung off to the northeast. Second, the 
area through which the 149th Infantry 
was moving was not only densely wooded 
but was also unmapped — the 1:50,000 
maps the troops were using showed only 
white for a large area beginning some 
2,000 yards north of Route 7— and the 
liaison planes' reports could at best only 
be guesses. Third, the guides that Skel- 
ton had taken with him had proved un- 
reliable and he had sent them back to 
camp. Finally, a study of all relevant 



* Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56. General Jones states 
that he had three reports from Division Artillery 
planes that the 149th was about three miles north- 
west of Skelton's reported position. The author 
could find only one report of such a nature in gSth 
Division Artillery and other division records, and 
this report placed the regiment four miles northwest 
of the location Skelton had reported. 



sources of information indicates that, 
when it halted, Skelton's leading bat- 
talion was almost two miles due north of 
the position he thought it had reached. 

There then ensued a complete break- 
down of communications between 38th 
Division headquarters and the 149th 
Infantry that created more confusion. 
About 2100 on the 1st of February Gen- 
eral Jones radioed Skelton to return to 
Santa Rita and start over. The 149th 
Infantry never received the message. On 
the other hand, three times by 1130 on 
the 2d, Skelton radioed Jones for new 
orders. Before receiving an answer, 
Skelton had learned that he had incor- 
rectly reported his previous positions, 
but guerrillas informed him that he need 
only follow the trail he was already on 
to swing back southeast to Route 7 near 
Dinalupihan, Though he relayed this 
information to General Jones by radio, 
division headquarters never received the 
message. 

By now, mutual misunderstanding 
was leading from confusion to chaos. 
Believing that the 149th Infantry was 
already on its way back to Santa Rita, 
Jones had seen no necessity for replying 
to Skelton's first two requests for new 
orders. Skelton's third request, which 
division received about 1115, finally 
brought forth instructions from Jones 
for Skelton to move the whole regiment 
back to the Santa Rita fork at once, 
Jones apparently had decided to employ 
the 149th along Route 7, for he informed 
Skelton that his regiment could be used 
"to better advantage here." 48 Skelton 
received this message about noon, and 
immediately started back over the trail, 
followed by his regiment. 

"Rad, 38th Div to 149th Inf, 1145 a Feb 45, Entry 
31, 38th Div G— 3 Jnl, a Feb 45. 



BACK TO BATAAN 



327 



Colonel Skelton reached the 38th 
Division's command post a mile north- 
east of Olongapo about 1930 on 2 Feb- 
ruary, and explained the situation to 
General Jones. Despite Jones's apparent 
desire to employ the 149th on Route 7, 
XI Corps wanted the regiment to try 
again to reach Dinalupihan on the by- 
pass trail, and now General Hall lifted 
his previous restriction that the 149th 
Infantry keep within supporting distance 
of units on Route 7. At 2330, accord- 
ingly, Jones directed Skelton to start 
back over the trail at 0700 on the 3d. 
Jones